Dulles, VA. June 25, 2001:
Each year BusinessWeek magazine and the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
come together to review and acknowledge innovation and excellence in industrial design
in both consumer and industrial products. The competition has come to be known as,
by all things, as the IDEA awards.
In its 22nd year, this competition has given past recognition to innovative consumer products
such as OXO’s "Good Grips" line of kitchen gadgets and Nike athletic products to computer
products such as Apple’s innovative PowerBook’s and iMacs to Microsoft’s innovations with
its Intellimouse Optical mouse. The competition even includes categories for transportation.
Past winners have included Mercedes-Benz and Porsche as well as the PT Cruiser by Chrysler.
If it feels or looks good and performs its underlying function in an innovative way, it’s a candidate
This year’s IDEA 2001 entrants were no exception. Included in the competition under multiple
categories was Mandylion Research Labs’ password manager device, the ebplite.
Simply stated, it’s a key chain sized device about the size of a car door entry fob that generates,
stores and manages cryptographically strong passwords for today’s Internet use and
e-commerce. Its completely self contained and there is nothing to install on either the PC
or the host computer.
"It was designed to do away with the inherent weaknesses traditionally
associated with the use of passwords; namely the individual being asked to create,
remember and regularly change their passwords", states
Joseph Grajewski, Mandylion’s
President. Military, Government and private testing of the device has shown that it thwarts
all known brute force and dictionary type password hacking attacks.
Originally developed for U.S. military and national security applications, more advanced versions
of the device have the ability to embed user identifying watermarks within the passwords generated.
The biometric version of the unit can asymmetrically bioauthenticate the individual logging in to
an ordinary web site. To aid in the purely random number generation, algorithms embedded
within the unit’s firmware continuously sense and take input from the user's random and unique
interaction with the device. The product retails for approximately $69.95 with corporate and Government
discounts bringing its price in the mid $30 dollar range U.S.
In addition to its innovation in what it does, the physical design of the device was equally innovative
and contributed to its inclusion in the competition. Industrial and human factors design engineer,
Todd Beck of Pemstar Corporation (NasdaqNM:PMTR) is credited in the competition for creating
the device’s physical design. Beck stated " we wanted the device to easily become part of
a person’s personal affects that they carry with them everyday." "Our concept was to make
it feel emotionally comfortable for the individual to carry, like a good luck charm."
"Our research brought us to a design which emulates the earthy comfort of a small stone or rune,
cool to the touch, smoothed and polished by a mountain river stream." That, however, created a design
challenge. How to make such a device small enough to be kept securely and comfortably in
a user’s personal possession, yet still be big enough to allow for convenient user interaction
and easy viewing of its display.
The solution to the size challenge was to incorporate the user’s existing key ring and keys to act
as a counterweight and steadying lanyard to the unit, according to Pemstar’s Beck. With this design,
the unit is cinched in the user’s palm by the natural action of the weight of the keys on the user’s key ring.
This has a steadying effect on the device and allows the user to interact single handedly with the device.
With the counterweight, the unit could be reduced in size to the footprint of its essential elements;
namely the 5 input keys and the LCD display. A custom LCD was designed that allowed for
a single display area to present multiple data sets without confusing the user. The LCD was designed
to have a limited viewing angle to discretely thwart others from viewing the contents of the display.
Over two years of work went into the product’s design including its human factors according
to Pemstar’s Larry Nielsen, overall executive in charge of the entire project. Nielsen stated
"that the entire project was a study in good industrial design from electronic componentry and chip
design to microcode to user interface." Industrial design is the professional service of creating
and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance
of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. As such, Industrial
designers develop these concepts and specifications through collection, analysis and synthesis
of data guided by the special requirements of the client or manufacturer. They are trained to prepare
clear and concise recommendations through drawings, models and verbal descriptions.
About Mandylion Labs
The idea was inspired. Yet so simple. Rather than search to replace
the use of passwords, just make them more convenient to use while removing the vulnerabilities
associated with them . In 1998, Mandylion Labs originated this simple and intuitive concept toward
password management. Today, we're a recognized as the leading innovator in access control utilizing
durable password techniques. Government, Corporations and ISPs use our solutions to reduce the cost
and complexity of managing their access control systems in the Window NT and Unix and Linux
environments while increasing the enterprise's entire baseline of data security. With a web-centric
economy pushing along expanding volumes of confidential information which is only separated
from the public domain by an easily forgotten or worse, a hackable password, Mandylion’s solutions
couldn't have come at a better time.
The apparatus and methods developed by the Company (5 separate patents pending effective 7/99 et al)
inexpensively provide computer users with convenience, privacy and security in the management
of their web site and LAN/WAN login passwords.
The Company is located in Vienna, Va. Our number is 703 – 628 4284.
Our e-mail address is