The Zamek is an open source hardware project, aiming to create a secure, digital, password manager that you can throw in your pocket along with your keys.
The project is still in development, and I wanted to say thank you to Jarek for sending me this early beta version. Let's have a look at it.
Like I mentioned, this an early version of the board, and the final thing may change. Of course, there will be a plastic case for the consumer version.
Besides that, you'll notice it looks like a standard USB dongle, but with a few extra components.
For starters, there's a super bright mini OLED display with a resolution of 128x32 pixels, allowing for 4 lines of text.
On the end you'll find a very handy mini trackball button that's used for interacting with the device. This feels great, and is much better than joystick buttons for fast scrolling.
Unlike many of the other password managers out there, the Zamek has its own power source too, thanks to a little lipo battery. This addition alone makes it way more useful.
The underside contains most of the components, including an ATMega32u4 processor, flash chip, and charging circuit. There's also another button here, which is used for reseting the device.
Press down on the trackball to turn on the device. You then enter you're PIN using the trackball to scroll through the numbers.
The cool thing about this process is that it's deterministic, so you don't have to set a PIN, or even have a single account. You can enter any PIN from 1 to 16 digits long, and gain access.
Jarek tells me that he's hoping to add more entropy to the process, perhaps by using the trackball when you first turn on the device.
Once you're in, you'll see that the 20 entries are already pre-filled with gibberish data.
You can then go through the entries, manually changing them to what you want. You can add passwords that are 16 characters long, and there's an option to use the psuedo-random number generator to generate your own on the device. These passwords are encrypted and stored on a separate EEPROM chip on the board.
There is also an app in development that lets you do all this via a desktop interface if you want. There's an option to create an encrypted backup here too.
One cool feature is when you want to use a password, you can either type it in manually, or alternatively, you can plug the Zamek into a USB port, press the button, and it auto types it out for you.
FOLLOW THE PROJECT
You can follow the development of the device by checking out the Hackaday project page.
Once the final versions of the hardware and software are finished, Jarek tells me all the code and schematics will be available on this page too.
Also, if you'd like to be notified of when the Zamek is available to buy, a CrowdSupply page has been set up.
This is my favourite hardware password manager that I've used so far. The big plus for me is its ability to work completely offline and airgapped from any other computers.
Before the final version, it'd be nice to see some additions. Some kind of manual backup process that is completely offline would be good. Other than that, some nice-to-haves would include longer passwords, perhaps even storing things like GPG keys. Also, extra settings, like being able to flip the screen orientation, and maybe a battery charging indicator.
What do you all think of the Zamek? Leave your comments below. If you've got any other ideas for similar devices you think I should cover, let me know too. Thanks for watching.