When a site shows those jumbled characters and asks users to
prove they are human, some people can't read the distorted letters, get frustrated and leave the
site. A startup called MintEye says it has an alternative to the jumbled characters called CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.
Instead of showing the squished and elongated letter, MintEye displays its CAPTCHA as a distorted image with text that can be "fixed" with a slider on the bottom. The user
moves the slider until the image looks right, and then the software tells the
website she's moved it far enough.
The MintEye CAPTCHA was invented by Shayke Inbar, one of the
company's founders. Inbar has dyslexia and found it hard to do the standard
The MintEye software makes using CAPTCHA less frustrating for
some people and it might also be a bit more secure in one respect: computers
can be programmed to recognize distorted letters. MintEye would be less
vulnerable to that kind of attack.
Even so, it is possible to write software that would detect
when the slider is at the right point by checking for straight lines in the
image, though that kind of software is harder to write.
MintEye isn't just about security, though. It's also about
advertising. The images MintEye uses could be ads, and that's where the company
makes its money. Some CAPTCHA systems already have ads; MintEye says that
because the user is deciphering the image of whatever it is being sold, the
brand recognition will be stronger.