Padlock Stories December 21, 2015

Thanks to Nest and other “smart home” accessory developers, wirelessly controlled appliances and security accessories are rapidly becoming mainstream. Garage and home doors have gone wireless, adding Bluetooth locks and remote controls, so it’s no surprise that the same features are beginning to appear in portable locks, as well. Since the ability to unlock doors without carrying old-fashioned keys is undeniably convenient, the only question is whether wireless locks are worthy of the premium prices they carry.

Best known for Apple device cases, Australian developer Dog & Bone has released Locksmart ($90), billed as a “keyless Bluetooth padlock.” Made from a zinc alloy with a 1.5″ stainless steel shackle, Locksmart is imposingly substantial, holding a Bluetooth 4 LE chip and two-year rechargeable battery inside a weatherproof frame. While it sells for a higher price than a basic weatherproof padlock with a key, or the sort of basic Bluetooth padlock one might use on a school locker, Locksmart is bolstered by a legitimately worthwhile app that enables it to work like $110 fingerprint-scanning padlocks — and arguably much better, since Dog & Bone’s app has several cool features that aren’t found in other padlocks…

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Padlock Stories January 7, 2015

It is the second day of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and we’re back on the show floor to discover the diamonds in the rough. Noke, the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled padlock, is one of those hidden gems. Noke replaces the nuisances of losing your keys or needing to remember random combinations with convenient unlocking over Bluetooth technology when your iPhone is within close range. expand full story

Padlock Stories August 18, 2014

Kickstarter campaign begins for iPhone-controlled Bluetooth padlock

Locks always struck me as the perfect application for Bluetooth LE: walk up to the lock, it detects the phone in your pocket or bag, checks the code and unlocks. If you need to let someone else in, you authorize their app on a one-off or permanent basis. Simple, secure, convenient.

There are a bunch of Bluetooth door locks on the way, and you can even lock and unlock your Mac via Bluetooth, so why not a Bluetooth padlock too? Noke is a Kickstarter campaign for a $59 lock where you simply click the hasp to unlock. Provided your phone is with you, and the app code matches the lock, it opens without key or combination.

Cleverly, you can also program the padlock with a Morse code-style pattern that you can click to open the lock if your phone battery is dead.

The campaign has an ambitious $100,000 target, so it’s by no means certain it’ll get funded, but as with all Kickstarter campaigns you lose nothing if it doesn’t make it. $59 is the Kickstarter price, with a planned retail price of $99.

The campaign doesn’t say anything about the security credentials of the lock, so it’s probably best considered something for relatively low-security applications like gym lockers and ‘cafe locks’ for bikes (ones you use just to stop someone hopping on and riding off while your bike is within sight).

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