A clever hack for Android devices enables you to unlock the phone by simply picking it up — meaning you won’t have to type in a passcode, draw a pattern, or swipe the screen to access your phone quickly.
You’ll need an Android smartphone that supports Near Field Communication (NFC) and an NFC tag.
The project is ideal for those comfortable hacking and rooting their phones, which will void your warranty if anything goes wrong.
NFC is a technology that allows you to perform certain actions with your phone by pressing or tapping it against another object that supports the tech.
These sensors are typically used for mobile payments and for sharing data such as photos or contact information with other phones.
For example, if you’d like to share a photo with a friend who also has an NFC-enabled phone, you can simply tap your phone against his or her device to instantly transfer the picture.
Most high-end Android phones have NFC sensors, including new phones such as the Galaxy S5, the new HTC One M8, and the Nexus 5.
An NFC tag is a small embeddable chip containing information that can be transferred or accessed via NFC. They’re extremely small and easy to come by, and companies such as Samsung and Sony make them to accompany their phones. Samsung’s TecTile NFC tags, for example, sell for around $US7 for a pack of five stickers.
A guide from Adafruit’s Becky Stern, which was first spotted by Lifehacker, details how to use this tech to unlock your phone almost instantly.
First, you’ll need to root your Android device, which Adafruit shows you how to do here. Rooting is the process of giving yourself root permissions to your phone. It’s similar to running a program as an administrator in Windows. When your phone is rooted, you’ll be able to run apps that require access to system settings on your phone that you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
You need to root your phone in order to enable the phone to support NFC polling when the phone is still locked and the screen is on. In other words, rooting the device allows the phone to detect other NFC-enabled objects while the phone is still locked. This typically isn’t possible with a phone running an un-rooted version of Android.
Once your device is rooted, those feeling creative can glue an NFC tag to a ring or other form of jewelry.
After that tag is assigned the task of unlocking your phone, which Adafruit also shows you how to do here, you’ll be able to unlock your device by simply picking it up and pressing it against your ring.
Stern even shows you how to embed NFC tags in your nail polish, which makes it even easier to unlock your phone with little effort.
So what’s the benefit? It may sound like a lot of work to get around a simple process that only takes a few seconds.
But, as Stern points out, since many Android phones have large screens, it’s sometimes difficult to unlock the device with one hand. It’s a bit of work that could save you some time in the long run, but it’s mostly just a fun, quirky project for Android geeks looking to put those NFC sensors to good use.
Check out the full video from Adafruit below.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.