If you use a padlock on a regular basis — at the gym or locking up your bike — then you’ll know the annoyance of misplacing your key or forgetting your combination. (It’s stupid but it happens.)
Canadian tech firm Pishon Lab wants to solve this by kitting out padlocks with a security measure that’s become almost essential on smartphones: the fingerprint sensor. The company has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for its fingerprint-secured TappLock padlock, which Pishon claims is “the ultimate in security and convenience.”
The TappLock comes in two variations: a beefy version with a three-year battery life that doubles up as a portable phone charger, and a smaller version, the TappLock Lite, which only has a six-month battery life and can’t charge your phone. You set the padlock up with the help of a smartphone app (available on iOS, Android, and Windows), with Pishon claiming that the TappLock unlocks in just 0.8 seconds. The app also allows you to unlock your padlock using your phone and share entry with other users — either on request or during pre-defined windows of time.
All this sounds convenient, but questions of reliability are difficult to answer. Smart padlocks have been tried in the past (including the iFingerLock and the Bluetooth-only Noke range), but user reviews of these products usually include complaints about locks randomly seizing and refusing to open. Pishon is also being slightly economical with the truth in its marketing material: the video for its Indiegogo campaign (above) shows the lock’s built-in alarm sounding when someone attempts to cut the shackle, but the company later clarifies that the alarm only goes off if the shackle is already broken. And misleading crowdfunding campaigns don’t usually end well.
So, adding a bunch of sensors and electronics to a lock doesn’t necessarily make it simpler to use, but if the TappLock is as reliable as its owners claim then it could be handy. Pishon is trying to raise a total of $40,000 on a fixed goal scheme, meaning that if they don’t hit this target they won’t take any money (a positive sign when it comes to crowdfunding schemes), with early-bird prices starting at $29 for the smaller TappLock and $49 for the larger version.