New Bluetooth accessory 'Sesame' automatically locks your Mac when you step away

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Connected devices maker Atama has revealed their latest product, a Bluetooth 4.0-based key fob that is designed to automatically lock and unlock the owner's Mac based on their proximity.

The fob, which is approximately the size of the Fitbit One activity tracker, packs a Bluetooth 4.0 radio and can run for months on a single coin-cell battery, according to London-based Atama. The company says Sesame takes advantage of Bluetooth 4.0's Low Energy mode, and that a "Mac's battery will barely be affected" by the device.

Sesame secures the user's Mac by using OS X's built-in screen saver password lock function. A companion application controls the distance at which the screen saver should be engaged and can also stop or start iTunes playback at the same time.


For more security-conscious users, Sesame can be used as a kind of two-factor authentication device. Rather than returning to a fully unlocked Mac, users who choose the two-factor method will be asked to both enter their system password and press a small button located on the Sesame.

"Securing your Mac while you're away is something you shouldn't need to think about," Eric Ferraz, CEO of Atama, said in a statement.

The idea of locking and unlocking a Mac with Bluetooth has been applied in the past by software-based approaches —  like Appuous's Keycard — that work with other devices, such as a user's cell phone. One downside to this approach is the potential for a significant impact on battery life for the paired device.

Atama, who also makes the Kilo smartphone-connected scale, notes that Sesame will be compatible with a variety of Mac laptops and desktops running Mountain Lion and Mavericks when it ships for $39.99 later in November. Stay tuned to AppleInsider in the coming weeks for a hands-on with Sesame.