Bluetooth-enabled smart locks have flooded the market in the past few years, now that the power-sipping Bluetooth Low-Energy standard has made it possible for devices to run for months at a time on a single battery. There are ones for your front door, like Kevo, Lockitron, and August; as well as a few designed specifically for your bike, like BitLock at Lock8. But what if you want to lock up something else?
Enter: Noke — a dead-simple keyless Bluetooth padlock. In terms of functionality, it’s almost exactly the same as all the other Bluetooth locks in the biz, but unlike most of its predecessors, Noke (pronounced “no-key”) isn’t intended for a single purpose. It’s designed to help you lock up anything: your garage, your shed, the gate to your yard, or even your locker at the gym — not just your front door or bicycle.
Aesthetically Noke looks just like the old-school padlocks you know and love, just without any keyholes or combination dial. Instead, it uses its Bluetooth brains to communicate with your smartphone and detect when you’re close by. To open it, just click the lock shaft once and it’ll automatically look for a phone with a compatible Bluetooth key, and then unlock when it finds one. You don’t even need to take you phone out of your pocket.
Using the accompanying Noke app, you can also distribute virtual keys to your friends and family so that they can open the Noke lock with their phones. No more sharing combinations or loaning out copies of your physical keys — you can create, manage, and destroy virtual keys whenever you need to.
If you should forget your phone or (God forbid) it happens to run out of battery, the Noke can also be unlocked via a clever click code thats based on a series of short and long presses on the lock shaft, sort of like Morse code. If all else fails, this code will grant you access — as long as the lock itself is still alive, that is. Battery life is pegged at one year, and when it starts to get low, the app will start sending you regular reminders to replace the coin battery.
The device exists only in prototype form at this point, but Noke’s creators Fuz Labs have recently turned to Kickstarter to raise the funds needed for a full-scale production run. At time of writing (just a few hours after the project went live) it’s only a few thousand dollars shy of meeting its $100K goal, so barring any unforeseen circumstances, it looks like the project will be a success. If you back the project now, you can lock down a Noke for about $60.