Sensors/IoT
Noke turns smartphones into programmable skeleton keys for all your padlocking needs

The Premise. The potential of various innovations unlocked by technologies like smartphones and Bluetooth affect every aspect of life. Most items can be improved and made more convenient by leveraging these platforms, even things as simple as a padlock.

The Product. Noke looks like a simple padlock at first, but it has no slot for a physical key or a combination dial. After synchronizing a smartphone with the Noke lock, a click of the lock’s mechanism will have the padlock search for Bluetooth devices, authorizing the lock to open only in the presence of a smartphone with the appropriate security permissions. Permissions can be granted through the app to other phones on a scheduled, one-time, or recurring basis, giving more people access to whatever is locked up. Additionally, if a smartphone runs out of battery or isn’t available, a physical morse code unlocking pattern can be programmed in to give access in case of emergency.

The Pitch. Noke designer, FŪZ, clearly values a sense of aesthetic in their product, and that level of polish carries over to their campaign video as well. The passion and enthusiasm for Noke is easy to get swept up in, and the more in-depth look at the app featured in the campaign itself is likely to answer any lingering questions left over from watching the video introduction. FŪZ Designs needs $100,000 to bring Noke to the streets and pay for the device’s tooling.

The Perks. Noke is expected to release in February of 2015 for backers who pledge $59. The optional bike mount and cable is available at the $79 tier. The remaining tiers include multiple locks for bundle prices.

The Potential. Noke surprisingly isn’t the first padlock to try and enter the digital age, with MasterLock offering a combination lock with online functions already. What makes Noke different, however, is the complete reinvention of a lock-and-key system, the physical override in case of digital failure, and the additional benefit of being able to use such a high-tech device outside in any weather conditions. While certainly a neat idea, it does put a great deal of responsibility on FŪZ Designs to make sure that everything on their end with the app and the tap codes is extremely secure and unable to be reverse-engineered to inspire locker vandalism and bicycle theft sprees. If Noke is as secure as it is stylish and innovative, then the padlock may never be the same again.