Now that this whole “Internet of Things” zeitgeist has taken hold, smart locks are pretty much a dime a dozen these days. There are ones that fit over your existing deadbolt, ones that unlock with a tap of your finger, and even ones that can automatically turn on the lights when you open the door. But for all the variety in the smart lock arena, most currently-available models still suffer from the same drawback — the fact that you have to use your phone as a key.
Pretty much every “smart” lock that’s hit the market in the past couple years has been designed to work with your smartphone, and to use either a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection to determine when you’ve come within range of the door, which then unlocks. In theory it’s not a half-bad idea, but in practice, it leaves a bit to be desired.
Wireless connections between lock and phone are often slow to establish, and sometimes just flat-out don’t work, which isn’t exactly the most convenient thing in the world when you’re trying to get into your house or apartment. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to fiddle with keys or phones at all?
Well good news — there’s a new smart lock in the works that does away with all these cumbersome key- and phone-based unlocking schemes. Instead, the Ola lock uses a fingerprint sensor.
For the most part, it works exactly like you’d expect it to. You simply tell it how many users there are, scan their fingerprints into the system, and start using it. Whenever somebody gets home and needs to open the door, all they’ve got to do is put their thumb on the scanner (convenintly located right on the door handle) and turn the handle. Ola’s state-of-the-art finterprint scanner will recognize your identity immediately, and deactivate the lock within seconds.
And of course, not to be outdone by it’s smartphone-compatible competitors, Ola is also equipped with an accompanying smartphone application, which allows users to gain entry the “old-fashioned” way, and even create temporary virtual keys for friends and guests.
Pretty brilliant, right? It’s so stunningly simple that it makes you wonder why the hell nobody’s done this before. I mean, fingerprint scanners have been around for decades at this point, and nowadays the technology is compact enough to fit inside a smartphone. It’s kind of astonishing that nobody’s tried to put it into a consumer-oriented door lock until now.
It’s not ready for primetime quite yet, but Ola’s creators have recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help cover the cost of production. Back the project now during the early stages, and you can lock down an Ola lock for a pledge of about $160. Assuming the project meets its $125K funding goal, the creators expect to begin shipping sometime in March 2016.