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The innovators
Unlocking a mental revolution

Massoud Ahmadi
After deciding that secure wasn't secure enough for his computer, a young electrical engineering graduate devises a three-password lock and scoops up a prize.
11.06.2012  |  Herat
Electronic locksmith Khairkhewa, left, before he graduated last year. (Photos: Private)
Electronic locksmith Khairkhewa, left, before he graduated last year. (Photos: Private)

As with so many bright ideas in electronics, it can take long nights with a pile of components and a soldering iron to unlock the solution. Or in this case, to create a lock for the solution.

Dissatisfied with the level of security on his computer, 25-year-old Mohammad Edrees Khairkhewa decided to create a new type of lock that incorporates three passwords and can be used to secure pretty much anything that runs electronically. 

“I thought about what technology I should use to give a password to an electrical implement to limit its use,” said Khairkhewa, who graduated last year from the electrical engineering department of the Herat Technical Institute.

“Since then, I have worked on making the lock for one whole year, and I eventually accomplished my dream.”

“Making this lock is, in fact, a mental revolution for me,” he added. “It has motivated me to develop my work more and more and make good hand-made things.”

Looks (of locks) aren't everything

Don’t be deceived by the lock’s clunky looks. The design is impregnable to most potential intruders, he claims. What’s more, it won him broad recognition and a prize of 1,000 euros at a design fair held last year in Kabul by the Ministry of Education.

“It was recognized as the top invention of the students,” he says proudly.

In all fairness, Khairkhewa can't take all the credit for the finished prototype: As the inscription in black pen on the device's housing says, "The lock was designed based on coding system and was invented by Mohammad Edrees Khairkhewa with cooperation of Rashid Rahmani, Hameed Khawri." But the idea was his, as was the bulk of the work perfecting the design. 

Not the sleekest design, but presentation will improve with funding.

Assembled in a cluttered corner of his bedroom, the lock cost just 30 US dollars to make. The hardware comprises a carbon resistor, an electrolyte condenser, transistors, rails and micro-switches. Apart from a few tiny elements he constructed himself, the parts were salvaged from other devices.   

“Due to the fact that I lacked sufficient access to equipment, everything I have used to make the lock has been previously used, some parts in radios and telephones.”

Investors come forward

Khairkewa is confident about the lock's basic appeal to security conscious users of computers and other technology.

“I got a lot of attention at the Kabul fair,”  he said, admitting that he has yet to come up with a catchy name for his brainchild.

But what he most needs now is a backer to help produce the lock with a more elegant design and to market it properly. 

“Governmental institutions made some promises to me in this regard, but none of them has so far been delivered,” he said.

“I wish to continue but I can’t do it alone. I made a lock, but its key is in the hand of those who are willing to support me.”

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The innovators
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