Kphob tracks door locking on the cheap with a turn of the key

It’s a common problem. After leaving the house, it’s often hard to remember if the door was locked and it’s just too time-consuming a lot of the time to return home and check.

patent-claimedKphob is a key fob that records whenever the user locks a door with an attached key. It uses several sensors, including a magnetometer and accelerometer, to track every motion of the key. The device also tracks the time and date of each entry and exit. It features a small display that shows the date and time.

Kphob ships in December. Future pricing is expected to be about $18. Early bird Kickstarter backers can get one first with a pledge starting at about $21. Its makers hope to raise $18,242 by May 5.

Alas, the fob only works only with physical keys, so consumers who have only a remote-controlled lock need not apply. Users must physically rotate the key inside the keyhole for at least one full rotation/revolution. But its makers are working on the algorithm to make it possible for 180-degree rotation detection.


Automotive Connected Objects

Loxet locks up the car based on your proximity to it

When drivers mistakenly think they’ve locked their car, or perhaps forget about doing so altogether, the result can be costly. While having one’s car towed can be frustrating, having it stolen is an entirely different and more aggravating experience.

Because preventing a car from being stolen is much easier than recovering a stolen car, the Loxet is a device worth checking out. Loxet is a smartphone-controlled proximity lock and anti-theft device for cars that should help drivers breath a bit more easily. Loxet works with Android 4.3+ smartphones and iPhones equipped with Bluetooth 4.0. Once installed, the device automatically unlocks a car as its owner approaches and locks the door right as the owner begins leaving the vicinity. The device prevents anybody from driving the car who isn’t either a) the owner or b) an individual who has been granted access via a setting on the accompanying app. Loxet costs $69 and is scheduled to ship in August. Its maker is looking to raise $25,000 by May 15.

Loxet certainly has potential. One potential barrier towards widespread adoption, however, is the setup process. While the device itself can be mounted in any car equipped with central locking, it will take a mechanic 45-90 minutes to install it, this according to the company’s Kickstarter campaign. Loxet can also be installed by the purchaser via an instruction manual, but if it takes more than an hour for a mechanic to install it, it’s likely too complicated for the average consumer to set up in the first place. Turning to a mechanic will, of course, add some cost to the device.


The Right Lock door block protects against unwanted visitors

Not knowing who’s knocking on the door when one isn’t expecting any visitors can leave a person hesitant to answer. And if no intercom system is available, trying to hear what the person on the other side is saying is often a challenge.

The Right Lock allows the user to open the door about two inches or so, and the solid metal-looking design is touted as preventing an easy forced entry. It appears that installation is fairly easy with a drill and screwdriver bit.

The idea seems to have some good potential, but it’s doubtful that this item alone would really prevent a forced entry if an intruder where determined to gain entry. In addition, many have chain locks which really serve the same purpose. Interested backers might also like to check out McChi lock and Burglar Blocker. This campaign seeks to raise $15,000 on Kickstarter. Backers get one lock for $30 with an expected delivery of May 2015.

Connected Objects

LifeStyleLock zero5 lets you know when prying hands attack your drawers

Many people keep certain items in a desk or nightstand drawer that they don’t want their kids or others to get their hands on. It could be medication. It could be a gun. It could be money.

The LifeStyleLock zero5 connected furniture lock uses Bluetooth and proprietary sensing technology to connect to an Android and iOS device. The zero5 leverages a proprietary solenoid locking mechanism, and it was built in the same way as locks built for industrial uses. If there is an attempted breach, the owner will be immediately notified. It should only take about 15 minutes to set up, and the lock and accompanying drawer assembly accommodates a large amount of imprecision in the installation, the company says. The zero5 attaches to the user’s nightstand, dresser or desk, but the front and side appearance of the furniture is unchanged.

The two main components of the zero5 are the locking mechanism and the housing. Both components are already fully engineered, its maker says. The zero5 uses on-board sensors to provide its owner with security awareness:  Early backers who pledge $250 will get a limited first edition version of the device in April. After that, backers who pledge $250 will get a lock one month later. LifeStyleLock is looking to raise $500,000 by Jan. 19.

The device will come in handy for many consumers, as long as it is as easy to set up as its maker claims and as long as the consumer actually has items that need to be locked up. Including both strengths and smarts makes for a pricier product. However for those who want remote notification, it may be worth it.


Time Out locks up temptations for a while

There’s something to be said for removing the thing that causes a person to participate in unwanted behavior – as long as positive habits or alternatives are being developed to replace the bad. Time Out is designed with the intent of giving parents the upper hand in modifying the behavior of their kids. The lock has a digital timer that can be set for up to 24 hours. Keep in mind, though, that it usually takes about 10 constant days or more to replace a bad habit with a good one. So if the kids’ video games are going to be taken away so that they play them less, it’s typically a good idea to make some alternative fun activity available. Locking up food for weight loss or cigarettes or alcohol to reduce consumption only works when the root cause of binging is addressed. Nevertheless, this campaign seeks to raise $24,000 by December 16, 2014. Early bird backers get one product for $29, with an expected delivery of April 2015.


Quick Caps provide convenient security for your bike

Bike security is the foremost concern for cyclists around the world. Making sure someone doesn’t make off with your precious ride is difficult, especially if the bike in question has quick release wheels. Despite having to carry an additional lock for the front tire, many people choose this kind of wheel for the sheer convenience of being able to quickly take it off at a moment’s notice. After numerous years of doing just that, inventor Curtis Dorrington created Quick Caps, a product that eliminates the hassle while retaining the quick release wheel’s convenience.

Quick Caps is a small, weatherproof lock that fits around the quick release lock’s lever itself, preventing anyone who would be daring enough to try from doing so. With the product being made from marine-grade aluminum and requiring 900Nm of force to break, even attempting the feat is a tall order. The product’s 51g weight will be a welcome relief to anyone that has been looking for this sort of solution, so ponying up just £10 (or £14 if you happen to have the wrong type of quick release) will be an easy decision. The creator is looking for a £15,000 infusion to start mass production.

Sensors/IoT Tools

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.

Connected Objects Safety Travel

EasyLock portable door lock helps you rest easy away from home

The Premise. Traveling can be great fun, but security is always a concern. When staying in cheaper rooms, hostels or bed and breakfasts it’s important to make sure that you’re always safe. These places don’t always have sufficient security measures in place for guests.

The Product. EasyLock is a portable lock that travels with you. It operates much like a traditional chain lock that lets the user open the door just enough to see who is knocking. To install, simply place the lock in between the closed door and doorjamb and it will stay in place on its own without glue, nails or screws. This British security device comes in pink and black.

The Pitch. EasyLock’s campaign video goes through the numerous ways that a room occupied by many previous guests may become insecure. While it does not show the actual lock, a later video features the EasyLock in use. The rest of the campaign discusses installation as well as the many places the EasyLock can be handy. This product’s creator explains that his grandchildren were the inspiration for his invention. EasyLock hopes to raise £10,000 in a month-long Indiegogo campaign.

The Perks. For only £17, backers can enjoy the ease and peace of mind provided by the EasyLock. Reward tiers climb up from there offering multiple locks or even an invitation to the super secret launch party for £2,500. The locks are estimated to ship from September to November 2014.

The Potential. Traveling safety is an excellent idea that has recently come into vogue. Before, safety on the road was limited to hotel room safes and luggage locks that the TSA removes anyway. Now, products like the EasyLock offer safety for the unsettled renter, college dorm student, small business owner and numerous others. For instance, NOVI is an entire app-managed security system that is completely portable, letting nomads remain safe wherever they go. Similarly, EasyLock provides an extra security measure that can only help those renting or in transit. Like a traditional chain lock, it is unclear how strong EasyLock actually is and, unfortunately, a good kick may be enough to disable it. However, this lock’s portability makes it unique and desirable in the safety market. 

Connected Objects Cycling Safety Sensors/IoT

App-enabled Skylock uses solar power to let would-be bike thieves see the light

The Premise. Bike locks are relatively unrefined. One needs to simply trust in the strength of their lock to protect them from thieves. Given enough time and opportunity, however, thieves can break into the strongest of locks unbeknownst to the owner. 

The Product. Skylock is an incredibly sophisticated solar-powered U-lock for your bicycle. It connects to your mobile phone and lets the owner know if their lock is being tampered with. This super-lock provides keyless entry and key sharing for multiple riders via Bluetooth as well as a GPS locator. When a crash or accident occurs, the lock sends a signal to your phone that gives you the option to either say that you’re uninjured or call for help from family, friends and even the authorities. This product is also functional, using a dual-locking mechanism for maximum security. If the bike should run out of battery, it won’t let the user lock the bike until recharged. The lock can also be charged externally by micro USB if sunlight is unavailable.

The Pitch. So far, Skylock has received tons of praise from the press which its campaign features. The video shows the lock in action, displaying how it alerts the rider when the bike is moved, the way it springs into action after an accident has occurred, as well as how easy it is to share access to the bike. Skylock is looking to raise $15,000 in a month-long Indiegogo campaign.

The Perks. Early riders can enjoy the Skylock for $149. It’s base Indiegogo price is set at $159 while its retail price will be $249. Higher tiers offer bundles of locks for bike share programs.

The Potential. Good bike locks can be hard to find. Locks such as the HENCH bike lock offer bank-level security, but aren’t “smart”. The Lock8, a UK smart bike lock, recently ran a successfully Kickstarter campaign. This product offers keyless entry, anti-theft alarms and GPS locating services. The Skylock takes the smart lock to a new level with its bike sharing capabilities and accident panic button. For a product that will protect you and your bike, the Skylock’s price is competitive and is a great investment for any bicycle commuter or enthusiast.


Hench will clench your bike, protect it from thieves

The Premise. Cycling is a popular and healthy way to get around, especially in the summertime. The only problem is that bikes get stolen all the time. Many locks are quite heavy and cumbersome to carry around when biking. And most thieves find their way around even the heftiest of locks anyway.

The Product. The HENCH bicycle lock claims resistance to all tampering techniques. It’s comprised of a chain wrapped with Kevlar, fabric and Velcro. Due to its materials, the lock is flexible and lightweight. For storage, it wraps around the bar of the bicycle or folds up making it convenient to tote around.

The Pitch. The campaign video shows the lock being hacked away at by several different tools. While the fabric will rip, the lock remains intact. The UK creator outlines his future plans for Hench in the rest of the campaign. He’s looking to produce the lock in different sizes and colors for different kinds of bicycles. Hench has a £25,000 in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. HENCH only offers one reward tier. For £100, backers will receive one of the first Hench locks from its initial production run. Estimated delivery date is currently set at August 2014. 

The Potential. Most riders go for a U-lock like those from Kryptonite. Others choose the heavy chain, but neither of these options uses Kevlar which renders the Hench resistant to bolt cutters. Alternative locks are also difficult to transport. One must either place them in a backpack or basket or use a bracket that attaches to the bike bar. These are typically difficult to install and not that reliable. The Velcro makes for a simple way to secure the lock. All in all, the Hench bike lock, while a little on the pricey side, looks like a great new way to secure your bike while remaining unencumbered by extra weight.