ANN ARBOR, Mich. — What if a battery could be more than a power supply?
This question inspired researchers Kang Shin and Liang He to create Battery Sleuth, an anti-car-theft device that uses a vehicle's battery to control access.
Battery Sleuth is the researchers' answer to what Shin describes as an "arms race" of vehicle security between automakers and hackers. The war is primarily being fought on two fronts — the vehicle's wireless communication system and its internal communication system.
Intended to be "disruptive," Battery Sleuth bypasses those systems entirely, Shin said.
There are two parts to the device, one that attaches to a car's battery and the other that plugs into its auxiliary power outlet, the cigarette lighter. Using the electrical wiring to communicate, the device turns the vehicle's battery into both a sensor and a controller, allowing the vehicle to start only if the correct PIN is input into the keypad, Shin said.