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Circuit Breaker

Instead of a smart lock, Locky makes your key smart

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Image: Lockey

It isn’t always practical or possible to replace a component of your home with smart tech, so plenty of companies are trying to find ways to add smart features to your life by augmenting what you already have. The latest is focused on your key: it’s called Locky, and instead of adding a smart lock to your home, it adds smart features to your regular metal key.

The gadget is basically a housing for your key. Using Bluetooth and some sensors, it’s able to tell when you use it to lock and unlock a door or forget the key entirely and walk away.

That allows for a few different things: Locky’s app can track whether your door is locked or unlocked based on how you’ve used the key. It can alert you if your key goes out of range of your phone. And it also has a speaker, so if you lose the key, the device can make noise to help you find it. It’s also capable of tracking multiple doors that use the same key, as long as you attach a small Bluetooth beacon to each one, so it can identify which lock is which.

The problem is, Locky’s abilities are really limited. So if you get to work and realize you’ve left your door unlocked, there’s nothing you can do. The system isn’t attached to the lock in any way, so you can’t remotely secure your home. At the same time, if you were to manually lock your door by flipping a deadbolt, Locky wouldn’t know that either, so it won’t actually know the state your door is in — just the last way you turned the key.

GIF: Locky

Ultimately, it’s kind of like a glorified Tile, form-fitted to your key. These kinds of hacked-on solutions to add smart features to your home are valuable since they open up the tech to more people, but I’m not sure Locky’s approach will be particularly useful for anyone other than the most forgetful of us. You can get all but the lock / unlock-tracking feature today by just buying any old Bluetooth tracker and attaching it to your keyring. It’d probably be smaller, too.

Locky is running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and has already surpassed its $10,000 goal. Units are selling for $55, or bundled with three beacons for tracking multiple locks for $84. It’s offering an aggressive shipping timeline, saying units will start to go out in February. Locky is a new company, though, and it has never shipped a product before, so keep in mind that there’s always a risk of delay with Kickstarter campaigns, particularly from untested startups.