Jeremy S. Cook

Consider the last time you stayed in a hotel. Beyond the bed, TV, shower, and other accessories, there may have also been a small safe where you could keep valuables. This was likely activated by your room key, and while it might make things more secure, you could also argue that someone on premises can also likely gain entry into it. You’d never know if someone opened it and took cash or jewelry — did you just forget it somewhere? — or if a thumb drive was accessed for potentially compromising information.

While the LightSafer, a tiny light-activated alarm PCB, won’t necessarily prevent this from happening, it will let you know that things have been messed with. The device uses a light sensor to detect the opening of a safe or luggage. It then activates an alarm LED in response, unless the correct PIN is entered via its 5-way joystick. The alarm state is stored in EEPROM, so even if the battery is pulled, it retains this information, and lights right back up when powered on again.

The LifeSafer is built around a Microchip PIC16LF18345, with the code protect bits set. This means that even if the maid or TSA agent happens to have the skill to dump the code from the chip, they’re still be out of luck. If the intruder does have that kind of skill, then you might want to check out the “flower” truck outside, rather than complaining to the front desk!

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