No matter how many notices are pinned around the office or how many notifications are sent to smartphones, some workers will inevitably forget to lock their computers when away from their desks. The Halberd from Untethered Labs will automatically take care of such things, wirelessly securing a workstation when a user strays beyond its range and granting access upon return.

The Halberd follows in the footsteps of the company's GateKeeper fob from 2014 and, like that smart key, has launched on Kickstarter.

"Halberd represents the state of the art in our field," said the company's Sid Potbhare. "It makes the entire experience for both the retail and enterprise client not only efficient, but secure."

The Bluetooth proximity-based access control device autolocks a computer when a Halberd-wearing user walks away and unlocks it upon return, meaning users needn't worry about remembering to secure a computer before wandering over to the office coffee machine, or having to dig out a wallet, purse or notebook for a PIN or password check. The system will also keep a login session live, meaning you won't be timed out if you're sat at your desk but not typing.

This latest smart key improves on the GateKeeper by adding more processing grunt for crypto key exchanges, adding an accelerometer for motion detection, has an all metal design for improved durability and can also instigate a computer lockdown with the push of a button. The system makes use of AES-256 encryption, and if a Halberd is lost or misplaced, users will always be able to manually log in and out.

Software updates planned for rollout over the coming year include Linux and Mac compatibility, machine learning smarts, single sign-on abilities and blockchain credentials. Also on the horizon is an app for proximity lock/unlocking of smartphones.

Kickstarter pledges start at US$30 for a Halberd smart key, a Bluetooth USB dongle and a Trident mobile app for iOS/Android, which allows a smartphone to act as an access control device for computers. If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in January 2018. There's more on the project in the pitch video below.

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