back to article Squeeze the banana to log into this office Wi-Fi

In some offices, you have to ask around for the Wi-Fi password, or find it written down on a bit of paper. In others, you do it by poking a banana. Danish network engineer Stefan Milo constructed his fruity authentication system by wiring a piece of fruit to a Makey Makey board and a Raspberry Pi mounted on acrylic glass. The …

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    1. frank ly

      All bananas in any kind of office go mouldy and funny after a couple of days. It's good to get some use out of them.

    2. John Bailey

      "Surely the banana will go all mouldy and funny after a couple of days, though?"

      Yes. But it is classed as a consumable.

      "But it's a nice idea."

      And high in potassium.

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Corporate fruit bowl bananas are so underripe, a chance for the starches to break down into sugars is not a big obstacle - it then becomes more pleasant to eat, and you can replace it with another inedible one.

    3. JeffyPoooh

      "...small piece of paper that someone printed out on an A4... ...I cringe"

      It perfectly obvious that the total environmental footprint of the banana-based system is at least a couple of orders of magnitude higher than the paper-based system. Just the banana-to-paper ratio makes it obvious. Let alone the continuous power consumption, even sans-banana.

      Planet killer.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: "...small piece of paper that someone printed out on an A4... ...I cringe"

        The bananas given in our staffroom are green and crunchy. They have a really fine balance as you need to keep on in your pigeon hole for precisely 2.25 days. If you wait longer they instantly turn black and mushy.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "...small piece of paper that someone printed out on an A4... ...I cringe"

        The real problem, as I see it, is the well-known banana genetic bottleneck.

        Banana plants are asexual rhizomatic herbs; the banana fruit is a vestigial berry. So you basically have a closed-source system here with a single point of failure from an unreliable supplier.

        Should've gone with a tomato, if you had to have a berry. (Handy rule of thumb: Sexually-functional berries are more reliable.) Or skipped the berries entirely and used a strawberry, which of course is a fleshy stem.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I think...

    The idea is bananas.

    In a few weeks the security on that might be a bit stale.

    With all the multiple users it has a high risk of catching some bugs.

    They may have taken "code monkeys" too literally.

    Finally, his project was never "Finnished"... it was "Danished".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think...

      Dear TechnicalBen, I think you should Split!

    2. Darryl

      Re: I think...

      I thought it was a pretty good way to "Dole" out WiFi passwords

  3. Alister

    I'm sorry, but why pick a banana, surely their MTBF is the lowest of just about any fruit.

    1. ZSn

      Surely you mean mean time between eating?

    2. Zarno

      Better a banana than a durian!

    3. TeeCee Gold badge

      Yes, but the banana provides a simple visual check of how close to failure it is. Change when >25% covered in brown spots.

      For a real problem fruit for this rig you can't beat a pear. Those little fuckers go from inedibly hard to overripe while your back's turned. A bowl of pears is a waste of space, unless you can scoff the lot in the brief few seconds while they're perfectly ripe.

  4. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    I read the sub-headline

    whilst enjoying a post-lunch coffee. Please advise where I should send the bill for replacement monitor, keyboard, shirt, and a nearby co-worker.

    Props for the clever solution to a problem but, one is forced to wonder if the device is indeed cellular, modular, AND interactivodular.

  5. Novex

    There's something unerring about having the words 'banana' and 'log' in the same sentence...

    1. Novex

      Doh! That should read 'unnerving', not 'unerring'...

    2. agatum

      > words 'banana' and 'log' in the same sentence...

      That's nothing if you consider there are words 'banana' and 'hammock' in the same word...

  6. Sgt_Oddball

    could be worse

    It could request that you pull on a sausage or squish some plums. I also have to wonder if the cost of fruit / extra electricity (whilst I admit it will be small but it's an extra machine that wouldn't have otherwise been running. Unless you turn off the Secretaries machine in which case all the better) would offset the cost of the paper?

    1. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: could be worse

      Could be far worse, like the South Park vehicle (IT) invented by Mr. Garrison:

      That would be going the extra mile.

  7. Scott 53

    Well done

    + several for the Banana Phone reference

  8. Christoph


    No good if there are any minions about.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Banana!



      BA NA NA!!!


      [explosion with running around and screaming]

      Another typical project meeting then.

  9. Triboolean

    Do you get a better grade of key if you stroke or rub the banana instead of just touching it?

  10. David Robinson 1

    What if you have an Apple device?

    1. Stoneshop


  11. earl grey

    acrylic glass - WTF?

    Is it a piece of hardened silica and chems or a piece of reconstructed petro chemistry?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: acrylic glass - WTF?

      It meets both the dictionary definition of a transparent hard substance used to make windows, and the chemistry definition of a substance that hardens without crystallisation. So yes, acrylic glass.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: acrylic glass - WTF?

        Just to be a pedant, acrylic forms a regular repeating polymer, therefore it is not a glass.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: acrylic glass - WTF?

          So it's lucite?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: acrylic glass - WTF?

          To be an even bigger pedant, a glass is a solid with no regular long-range structure. Most materials can exist in the form of a glass - even if their usual form is crystalline. For example, both water and some metal alloys will form a glass in the right conditions.

          Furthermore, crystallinity is not a yes or no proposition: it is quite possible (and in the case of polymers, even common) to form a structure where microscopic parts of the material form a regular, crystalline structure, while other, connected regions are amorphous.

          A regular repeating structure of the polymer chain is necessary, but does not guarantee that it will form a crystalline material (ie a material with regular long-range structure). Depending on the technique used for polymerization and the subsequent handling, the resulting polymer may have crystallinity anywhere in the 0 to 100% range.

          1. Danny 14

            Re: acrylic glass - WTF?

            so you could make glass out of beer? Or bacon?

            mmm bacon.

  12. pewpie

    Is that a keygen in your pocket?

    Or are you just I'll get my coat.

  13. Camilla Smythe

    I suppose using a push button would....

    My Keyboard is Full of Eels..

    "Please tickle the Eel for your Wifi Pass."

  14. daajjall

    Unfunny Hunic stuff

    Any intelligent person would have used a Banana Pi!

    1. VinceH

      Re: Unfunny Hunic stuff

      You stole the comment I was going to make. Have one of these:

    2. hplasm

      Re: Unfunny Hunic stuff

      This is better- Banana && Raspberry PI!

      1. sorry, what?

        Re: Unfunny Hunic stuff

        "Banana && Raspberry" - not a logical combination if you ask me...

        1. davidp231

          Re: Unfunny Hunic stuff

          Banana-berry Pi?

  15. sorry, what?

    Seriously though...

    How does the $corp track the pr0n downloads back to the banana fondler? Does the Pi not also need a web cam for capturing the goofy smile of the bendy fruit tickler?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every day....

    I would come in and obtain my code crushing the banana into a pulp in my fist and wiping the excreta on the imbeciles desk.

    (We don't have an enormously supportive environment here)

  17. daajjall

    Yeah, great minds think alike, eh?

  18. MotionCompensation

    Day O, day O

    Daylight come and me wan' go home

  19. a_yank_lurker

    A new meaning to monkeying around, eh?

  20. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "And now I eat the banana!"

    Does it also work with passion fruit or mango or raspberries (and so on)?

    And what happens when someone approaches the device with a pointed stick?

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      And what happens when someone approaches the device with a pointed stick?

      And what happens when some enviro whacko approaches it with a Geiger counter? Oh noes! Radiation sickness! My hair's falling out!

  21. Martin Maloney

    The banana keygen

    I find it a-peeling.

  22. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    More power with one of these appropriately named devices

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Bananas are herbs!

    1. PunkTiger

      Re: Fruit?

      Botanically speaking, the banana is a berry.

  24. TheProf
    Thumb Up

    And it still involves paper – what is this? 1999?

    I remember when 1999 was still 'The Future'.

    I'd guess this banana key dispenser is in a small company. Anything with a HR and a Health + Safety department is going to be too large for this kind of enjoyable tomfoolery.

  25. Unicornpiss

    I thought it was only the cheapest motels...

    ...where you had to touch someone's banana to gain access.

  26. Howard Hanek

    Stefan Quit Monkeying Around With the WiFi

    ....and reset my password again. I must have squeezed it too many times. But I LIKED how it felt.

  27. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    That one certainly shows up those with no sense of fun.

  28. Stevie


    "Voltage drop across the fruit" dammit!

    What are they teaching in Physics O levels these days?

  29. GFK1

    Berry nice

    Believe bananas qualify as berries.

    "Squeeze my berry to get a Passcode" didn't make it past the marketing team, I guess.

  30. JosephEngels

    Voltage drop?

    "causing a voltage drop in the fruit" ???

    what complete toss. It's just a touch switch, which works like every other touch switch ... when you touch the sensor (which in this case has been extended with a bit of wire to a banana) you couple stray 50Hz electrostatic field from all the general mains driven stuff in the area (60 Hz in places I guess) into a high gain amp (usually a CMOS gate biased nearly on) ... that turns into a 50Hz square wave and then gets rectified ...

    the other sort is a capacative sensor ... where it either oscillates or nearly oscillates ... and when you touch it, the added capacitance of your body either changes the frequency, or causes it to start oscillating, as appropriate.

    Either way, voltage drop (across or in) the banana don't come into it. What are they teaching in electronics class these days?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The old sysadmin that only cares about his aquarium ....."

    i like the sound of this workplaice .... a fruitful office environment ...

    and so on .....

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "The old sysadmin that only cares about his aquarium ....."

      I suspect something fishy is going on...

  32. billse10

    Penalty for misbehaviour seems a bit harsh ?

    "on Thursday, cops brought in a basket of bananas ....."

  33. TRT Silver badge

    The tactile office...

    OK, I squeezed the banana to get a WiFi code, but tugging the raw sausage on the washroom wall didn't make the toilet flush like the marker-pen instruction said. It just dispensed some moisturising cream. Eventually.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The tactile office...

      Urgh, come on! Did you have to go there?

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: The tactile office...

        A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do... now stop the humming, I'm trying to concentrate in here...

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: The tactile office...

      I thought that was hair gel?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: The tactile office...

        The power and the glory hole.

  34. iRadiate

    For all the Nay Sayers... BYOB

    Bring Your Own Banana

  35. zaax

    why have a password - just keep the wi-fi signals in the office.

  36. Solly

    How big is this thing?

    If only there was something in the picture to assist in ascertaining the size and scale of this device.

  37. theOtherJT Silver badge

    Would probably be illegal here.

    We have to have people sign for guest wifi accounts. We have to have a persons name attached to every account so we know where to direct the police should they ever request the peeping tom, sorry, "Security" information we're required to collect on everyone who uses our network. I'm told that after a long and expensive process our lawyers decided that we were probably liable to prosecution if we didn't, so anonymous access had to go :(

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I do hope

    no public purse funds went into creating this pointless piece of shit.

    I mean, this isnt worthy of the ignobel awards. It is simply a piece of crap and IF he had replaced the banana with a switch this wouldn't have even been a story.

    No, a waste of time and effort that could have gone onto something actually useful.

    The shit El Reg prints sometimes takes a lot of fathoming...

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