Cracking passwords via bruteforcing (trying every combination till one works) using computers isn't new. As passwords, their length, their composition (character types), and encryption grew in complexity, so did computational power, and with the advent of GPGPU, it's possible to warp through millions of complex combinations in seconds.
On the other hand, cracking some kinds of passwords needs a more personal approach, like brutefocing the lock screen PINs of a cellphone with a touchscreen. Granted, such PINs are usually just 4-digit numbers and it takes an average of 5 seconds to try out each of the 10,000 combinations; but sometimes you just don't have the time, or the 007 hardware to coast you though it. That's where the $200 R2B2 (aka Robotic Button Basher) comes in.
This portable robot is little more than a combination of a flexible mini tripod, sticks tied to servo motors, a cheap web-cam, and nano computer (like Adurino, Raspberry Pi, etc.) running a custom code; but can type numbers onto a keypad (touchscreen or physical), at incredible speeds. Picking a 4-digit PIN, hence is incredibly fast. Here's a video of R2B2 in action.
This has CEOs and executives worried. Their corporate phones usually have little more than a 4-digit PIN to unlock the screen, and if a phone is misplaced/separated for even a few minutes (at the board table, or during a TSA molestation), it could be compromised. Thankfully more sophisticated kinds of lock-screen authentication are taking shape that aren't as tedious and frustrating as pattern-match, like Apple's upcoming fingerprint recognition.