If you're one of those people who constantly loses your housekeys, the UniKey system is here to help. If you're one of those people who constantly loses your smartphone, you're probably having some trouble surviving these days.
Loads of new products at CES 2014 are powered by smart applications and meant to coordinate with smartphone technology, and the door-locking system of UniKey is no exception. The UniKey was debuted at the Showstoppers event and uses Bluetooth communication to turn your smartphone into a virtual key.
Partnered with standard deadbolt hardware made by Kwikset, UniKey operates via a free application installed on your mobile device. The bolt is powered by 4 AA batteries which should last for a year. The unit can still operate with a tangible key (just in case you really do lose your phone).
To use the "touch to open" feature, though, all that's needed is for the user to tap the lock itself with a finger. UniKey then sends out a signal from the lock to the smartphone that holds the application. A connection between the two proves to the lock that the owner is standing in front of the door, thus unlocking it.
Users can also send "e-keys" to other smartphone users, programmed with settings for temporary access, i.e. for house-sitters and guests.
It's important to note that UniKey isn't a hands-free locking device: you need at least one finger free to tap the lock in order to activate the app, after all. But when your arms are full of groceries or you're in a fumbling hurry, it's definitely easier to accomplish a single tap than it is to do all the maneuvering key operation can require. This makes the UniKey sound appealing to those who are often overloaded, whether in a physical sense or a scheduling one.
We're all pretty tethered to our smartphones these days, and putting yet another important, losing-not-an-option item onto our phones isn't too much to ask. Between products like UniKey and push-button car starters, it's beginning to sound like the key ring is on its way to becoming obsolete. But as far as we're concerned, one less thing to lose is never a bad idea.
[Image credits: UniKey]