When it comes to keeping things locked up, combination or key safes just seem terribly outdated. Not in a quaint, nostalgic way – like pocket watches or trains – we’re talking about the same technology you used to use to lock up your books in high school, and probably a sweat-stained bag of t-shirts and shorts at the gym. It works, but there’s nothing particularly impressive about it, and chances are you’re going to be fumbling with the lock a few times before you really get the hang of it (although it shouldn’t be making you late to fifth period biology, anymore.)
Sequiam Biometrics’ BioVault 2.0 safe, on the other hand, looks like it was pried off the wall of a futuristic Doom 3 space station. The slim black vault with dual front doors and a curvaceous design screams different, and means it too: It’s one of the few next-generation safes that use biometric fingerprint-recognition technology to provide access.
At first glance, this can easily be dismissed as a gimmick. After all, combination and key locks do provide an adequate level of security, and a safe isn’t exactly a flashy item you’ll be showing it off to visitors in your home. But for those who intend to store firearms, a fingerprint lock has the key advantage of being quick: Just swipe your finger down the front reader and a second later the spring-loaded doors pop open. In the home-intrusion scenarios that many gun owners intend to prepare for, this can conceivably make the difference between a burglar walking in on an armed homeowner or one fumbling with a lock. Biometrics claims gun owners should be able to fit up to four firearms in the unit, depending on size, as well as ammunition. And, an added advantage, there’s no key for kids to find or combination for them to figure out – only a legitimate finger swipe from the owner will do.
Image courtesy of BioMetrics
Since the unit is electronically controlled, it will, unlike a conventional safe, need electricity to operate. Three D cells should power the safe for an entire year, or an included AC adapter can run it off of wall current. Fortunately, the BioVault uses non-volatile flash memory to store fingerprints, meaning that dead batteries or a power failure won’t cause the safe to fail, and it will still work when you fire it back up.
An LCD display on the front of the unit is intended to make the setup process easier, by guiding first-time users through the process with instructions. Enrolling fingerprints in the system involves swiping a finger three times to give the unit an accurate impression. As an extra techie touch, the screen will even display each fingerprint on the LCD as they enter the system to let you know what your own unique biometric identifier looks like. Up to 50 fingerprints can be enrolled, which should be more than enough unless you’re living in a particularly large fraternity or cult compound.
And in case you were wondering: No, the BioVault cannot be opened with a sawn-off finger. It’s actually sensitive enough to determine whether your digits are alive or not, and it won’t work if it detects that they aren’t. So would-be thieves: Don’t get any ideas.
As you might expect, you’ll pay a slight premium for the fun of pretending your house is a high-security FBI lab. The BioVault 2.0 retails for $399 USD, but can be found for much lower from online retailers with a little Googling. That’s more than conventional units of the same size go for, but right on par with the few other fingerprint safes out there. But if keeping your valuables a literal finger touch away appeals to you, the extra money may just be well spent. Find out more on their website.