Fun with LensLok

Today (19th Oct 2017), a question was asked in the Facebook Group ‘Spectrum For Everyone’ by Seamus Doyle of what our experiences were of the LensLok technology. This clever device was a special lens, made of plastic, which you would fold into an ‘n’ shape and place over a scrambled code on your screen. You would then see the code in plain characters through the Lenslok device and type it in, unlocking the software.

LensLok In Action [Image by David Sapier]

LensLok In Action [Image courtesy of David Saphier]

Personally, I had no issues with the titles I owned; Elite, Tomahawk and Art Studio. I did hack Art Studio so that the LensLok part was skipped because I used the program quite a lot back in the day.

Having answered the question in the Facebook Group, I wondered if there were any references to the LensLok online so I did a simple search on Google and it turned up a LensLok emulator called Lenskey¬†written by Simon Owen. This is a great piece of software and only 12K in size (including source). I believe it is used primarily for Spectrum Emulators. It works by decoding the region of the screen that you click and drag from the middle of the code. So, you simply run up your favorite flavor of emulator, load your LensLok’ed software and decode the image on the screen to run the software.

I was curious to see if it would work with a real code. I fired up my trusty Samsung Spectrum Plus and loaded the Art Studio TZX via my TZXDuino. Up came the request to check the OK that the LensLok software always starts with and, once I pressed ‘Enter’, the actual code. I snapped a picture of both the OK and the code with my iPhone and transferred the images over to my PC. I then previewed the code image and reduced roughly it in size to that of Spin, the Spectrum emulator I use most. I then clicked on the LensLok emulator to activate it and then click ‘n’ dragged from the center of the LensLok image to the right hand lower side. This is the result:

LensLok Test

LensLok Test

A perfectly readable code. As it stood, the Spectrum had reset by the time I saw the code which is what the LenLok software does if it doesn’t get the code input fast enough.

Still an interesting experiment and the Lenskey software comes with source too. Andrew Beer asked in the Facebook Group if there was anyone who could program an iOS and/or Android app to do the same. That would make using real codes a breeze.

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