If you've signed in to almost any website on the Internet, you've probably encountered a dastardly CAPTCHA. A CAPTCHA is a common security tool that asks you to type the words or letters you see in a box to prove you're a human; those words or letters are usually swirled or mangled, difficult for a computer or bot to make out but hypothetically easy for a human to read.
A typical CAPTCHA.
I say "hypothetically easy" because these mangled-text CAPTCHAs can often be frustrating, even impossible, to decipher. (There's a Tumblr dedicated solely to so-called "CAPTCHA Fails".) So thank goodness a new company, Are You A Human, has come up with what seems a much more elegant solution: Instead of attempting to decipher some indecipherable text, you are asked to defeat a simple arcade game to prove that you are real.
For example, let's say you're signing up for a hot new social network. Instead of facing an illegible CAPTCHA, imagine a screen that shows you a pizza without toppings, along with pictures of a pepperoni, a mushroom, and an anchovy floating in space. The "Are You A Human" CAPTCHA asks you to select the pepperoni with your mouse and drag it onto the pizza. By dropping the animated toppings onto the virtual pie, you've shown that you're a human. Access granted: You're into the site, no text CAPTCHA necessary.
That is just one of the gameplay modes on Are You A Human's PlayThru CAPTCHA system, which was unveiled in early May and will begin rolling out on the websites of Fathead and Quicken Loans immediately. Webmasters interested in obtaining a PlayThru for their own site can head to Are You A Human's homepage.
You can try one of the PlayThru games below. Next time you sign up for a website, or enter a credit card, or need to confirm your email address, you might be faced with one of these instead of a traditional CAPTCHA. Praise the heavens!
Click "start" in the animation (below) to it out, and let us know what you think in the comments: