Or at least your cards.
This is a presentation that I overlooked from DEFCON 24, but the authors have now been blogging.
The technology is quite interesting. It isn’t just “disguised” as a phone: the device is actually a fully functional Android phone, with a custom ROM and app that controls the cheating portion.
How does it work? Hidden camera, concealed infrared LEDs, and…
What makes the whole thing work is the use of a special deck in which the four edges of each card are marked with IR-absorbing ink. As a result, when this marked deck is illuminated by the IR LEDs, the spots of ink absorb the IR, creating a sequence of black spots…
The sequence of black spots created by the IR illumination, illustrated in the photo above, is read remotely by the cheating device to infer a card’s suit and value. You can think of those markings as invisible barcodes.
So yes, you do need to slip in a marked deck. But the people who will sell you the phone will also sell you pre-marked decks, which are designed to look like they haven’t been messed with. And apparently the phone will pair with Bluetooth based audio and haptic feedback devices, so you don’t even have to be looking at the display.
And yes, because it is based on marked cards, it will work with card games other than poker, too. (High-end bridge cheating? Chris Christie, call your office, please. Sorry, little joke there.)
The post that’s up now is just the first one in a promised series: I’ll try to link to the other ones as they go up.