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Project Vault

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
Project Vault is a secure minicomputer contained on a Micro SD card; Vault is under development at Google ATAP, the company’s lab group for disruptive technologies.

Project Vault was undertaken to create a security system that functions in parallel on smartphones and other portable devices, running alongside their existing operating systems. Vault encrypts communications, making devices more private and more secure.

An entire computer system is housed within the confines of the Micro SD form factor. Project Vault features include:

  • An ARM processor.
  • Near-field communications (NFC), used to communicate with external forms of identification.
  • Non-intrusive user authentication through methods such as keystroke ID.
  • A secure 4GB storage partition for the most important or sensitive files.
  • A secured Real Time Operating System (RTOS) that performs security scans and encryption of communications, text, sound and video before they leave the device.

According to Google, because chats and other messages are never exposed across the Internet, neither hackers nor carriers and ISPs can access user communications.

Other ATAP projects include Project Tango (a high-end tablet with spatial awareness that is optimized for 3-D applications and gaming), Project Jacquard (tech-embedded fabric), and Project Soli (a radar-enabled gesture interface).

See the Project Vault demo at the 2015 I/O conference:

This was last updated in June 2015

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Having vault be a movable component makes it very compelling. I'd be very curious to actually see this in action sometime soon.
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