Captchas are challenge-response tests used to ensure that the user is a human (and not a robot). I am quite sure that every net user is familiar with them. Whether you are creating a new email account or registering at a forum or simply downloading a file, you will have to deal with a captcha. But, finding a good and effective captcha is tougher than it seems. Make them too easy and bots will manage to figure them out. Make them too tough and even human beings will have trouble. Rapidshare’s infamous cats and dogs captcha was a perfect example of captcha gone wrong.
A group of Tel Aviv University scientists are currently developing a next-gen captcha, which they believe will be extremely difficult for bots to crack. The research project led by Prof. Danny Cohen-Or will be utilizing pictures with 3D-objects like a running man or a flying plane.
According to Prof. Cohen-Or, “Humans have a very special skill that computer bots have not yet been able to master. We can see what’s called an ’emergence image’ â€” an object on a computer screen that becomes recognizable only when it’s moving â€” and identify this image in a matter of seconds. While a person can’t ‘see’ the image as a stationary object on a mottled background, it becomes part of our gestalt as it moves, allowing us to recognize and process it.”
The proposed captcha is still a work in progress. It will take some time for the concept to move from research papers to real world applications. However, let’s hope that it will make life easier for us.