ORWL is a computer with a key, because protecting your computer with passwords is too mainstream

You think passwords can fully secure your computer. Not really. What if someone has physical access to your hard drive? Maybe the most secure password won’t be able to save your data from being stolen. And unlike smartphones, you can’t carry your computer in your pocket all the time. Keeping those facts in mind, Design Shift created a computerthat is physically secure.


Named ORWL (pronounced or-well) is claimed to be the “first physically secure computer,” which is the multitude of the physical security used in the banking industry (ATMs and Point of Sale terminals) and a modern Intel-based PC.


ORWL features a secure microcontroller, powered by Cortex-M3. The microcontroller is integrated into the motherboard, which is used to create and store cryptographic keys. Also, it requires a key fob via NFC to boot the system.

The entire system is them encased by another security layer, known as “active clamshell mesh.” The active mesh is formed by laser direct structuring, a process to generate a resin material with finely printer circuitry. If anyone tries to drill or cut the clamshell to crack open it, the microcontroller immediately deletes the SSD encryption key, rendering all your data permanently inaccessible.

However, if you want to open the clamshell yourself, you can, but you have to generate a new SSD encryption key and reinstall the entire system


Spec wise- ORWL comes with Windows 10, Ubuntu, or Qubes OS pre-installed. However, it allows you to run any modern 64-bit Intel-compatible OS. It features 8 GB of RAM, a choice of an Intel Skylake M3 or M7 processor, as well as storage of 120GB or 480GB. To help you connect any accessories via cables, it also comes with two USB type C connectors.


The great thing is the company has open sourced its hardware and software for ORWL. This includes firmware for the BIOS, a security controller, key fob, and the layout and schematic files.

Design Shift is running a crowdfunding campaign via Crowd Supply with the target of $25,000. You can order an ORWL for $699, which will run up to $1,299 as the configuration gets high. The company expects to ship their product in January 2017.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.