ProxLok locks your computer screen when you walk away from it

Computer security remains critically important, especially when in public places. Fingerprint readers are increasingly being used as a solution, but once computer users logs in using such a system, they must then remember to log out every time they walk away from the computer for even a few seconds.

patent-claimedProxLok is out to provide a better solution. It’s a proximity-based biometric login device that plugs into a computer via USB. It comes equipped with a fingerprint reader and uses Bluetooth to detect the presence of the computer user’s cellphone. When the computer user walks a few feet away from the computer, the device automatically locks the computer screen. If users don’t have their cellphones with them, after logging in, ProxLok will warn them that it can’t detect their cellphones and ask if they want it to periodically request a fingerprint scan to keep them logged onto the computer. ProxLok costs $179 and ships in November. Its maker is hoping to raise $175,000 by June 17.

Proximity technology has been used in several products already, including Loxet, which automatically locks a car as soon as the driver walks away from it. ProxLok’s most obvious flaw is that many computer users are smart enough not to walk away from their computer when they are in a public place. However, there’s always that quick excursion to the  cafe bathroom for which it may defend against prying eyes at least until more smartwatches can implement these features.

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.

Smart Home

Sesame smart lock lets you open doors as you knock it from your pocket

Smart locks were quite possibly the smart home movement’s first attempt at a truly wireless home. Unfortunately, initial efforts resulted in oversized locks with impractical installation requirements and questionable security.

patent-claimedThe simple looking Sesame smart lock provides a modern day solution in this regard. The lock is manufactured with a five-patented design capable of being installed over a large variety of single-cylinder deadbolts, all without the need of any tools.

The lock uses Bluetooth LE in conjunction with military-grade encryption in order to enable home entry in a number of creative ways. For instance, users can utilize a companion iOS or Android app to remotely open a door or enable proximity entry by way of a nearby smartphone. Voice controlled based entry is also a feature of the device. Notably, users can be informed when doors are opened and closed, an important feature given that Sesame provides wireless and shareable access.

$149 gets backers both a Sesame lock and a Wi-Fi Access Point that lessens drain on the device’s battery. Its makers are seeking $100,000 and are aiming to get the product delivered by May 2015.

With its incredibly easy install and wealth of entry options, the Sesame smart lock is poised to find itself on more doors than competing products. This is well-tread territory, after all, previously occupied by the likes of August and Goji.

The Sesame lock, though, has some competition in Haven, whose all-business construction is the polar opposite of the fun, light-hearted tone Sesame takes — which may not sit well for those a bit more serious about their home protection needs. Still, its impressively easy installation process will undoubtedly attract many.



Connected Objects Technology

Keewifi stresses simplicity in security with new router

Routers are the essential gateway that connect our many home gadgets to the Internet, but setting them up can be a major hassle. Chinese newcomer Keewifi has focused on simple connectivity with a new $99 router that enables devices to securely access Wi-Fi without the need for passwords.

The plug-and-play device is small and uses the 802.11ac wireless networking standard, along with proximity technology to authenticate mobile devices as an alternative to standard Wi-Fi passwords. Keewifi stresses on its Kickstarter campaign page that by tapping one’s mobile device on the router one can set up a connection in only 30 seconds. But the company’s video on the site shows that when a mobile device is even held closely to the Keewifi, connection is achieved and a circular blue light glows on top of the router. The device needs to be held within just 2 inches of the syncing panel. Keewifi is looking to raise at least $50,000 on Kickstarter. The company expects to fulfill initial units to backers in July.

There are, of course, plenty of routers on the market, some of them cheaper than Keewifi and many of them from brands familiar to U.S. consumers, including Linksys and Netgear. The new router’s simplicity will likely be appealing to many consumers and stands to make it a hit, but only if Keewifi manages to get decent distribution.


Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Notion can sense just about anything around your home

There are a wealth of different smart home solutions available to tackle specific tasks or watch certain parts of the home. From home intrusion tags on windows and doors to humidity sensors that can detect potentially dangerous conditions for collectibles, having a home that does all of this requires a lot of products, not to mention a lot of money.

Notion is a smart home sensor that prefers to do a lot with a little. The small adhesive pucks that Notion uses for sensors can be placed on any surface or device and programmed to monitor multiple different kinds of data, or just do one specific task. From detecting water leaks to safeguarding valuable or dangerous materials, when one of Notion’s built-in sensors is tripped, it sends a notification to the user’s phone, as well as to any approved contacts if the homeowner is not in a position to respond quickly to urgent matters.

Notion can sense eight different kinds of stimuli: acceleration, light, sound, proximity, temperature, orientation, water leaks, and natural frequency. Whether a window is left open upon leaving the house or if a smoke alarm is going off, Notion promptly reports it. Loop Labs, Inc., maker of the Notion, needs $50,000 for testing, design, and production. The base kit including one hub and one sensor puck is priced at $129 and will launch in July 2015.

Notion isn’t the first all-in-one smart home super-sensor, nor will it be the last. But as the smart home grows and develops, and companies try to tackle the functions of the ideal smart home one at a time, it’s refreshing to be able to invest in a product that pulls its own weight in every room of the house.