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Unlock your front door using your iPhone

Posting in Technology

Kevo, from Florida-based startup UniKey Technologies, links a motorized deadbolt lock to your iPhone. The new tap-to-open system lets you unlock a your front door by simply tapping the lock with your finger (as long as your phone is within 4 feet of the door). Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Other than its ring of blue light, Kevo (pictured) looks like an ordinary deadbolt; it even has a keyhole for a traditional key. When you touch the lock, it recognizes your phone and unlocks the door.

Specifically, when you tap the deadbolt, it sends an encrypted Bluetooth signal to the nearby device, which shoots back a code to unlock (or lock) the door. Lights flash green when the bolt turns, and the phone never even needs to leave your pocket.

  • If you want to let other people in your house, Kevo’s app sends virtual keys that work (and expire) at certain times. The app logs each use and sends you an alert when someone else opens the door.
  • If you lose your phone, you can disable all e-keys remotely; you don’t need to change the lock.
  • It knows if you’re inside the house, so unauthorized users outside can’t unlock it.
  • If you don’t have an iPhone, there’s a Kevo Fob (sorry, no Android).
  • The deadbolt runs on AA batteries and alerts you when they start running out.

While the market for electronic locks is growing, they’ll be a novelty until they link to home security systems and cameras.

The company has raised $2.5 million from ff Venture Capital and other investors. The device first appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, when UniKey CEO Phil Dumas pitched the idea to the program’s investors, Wired reports, and walked away with over $500,000. He eventually caught the attention of Kwikset.

Kevo will be sold at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Amazon this year for between $199 and $249. Dumas envisions Kevo in safes, cars, hotels, and offices one day.

[Kwikset via Businessweek, Wired]

Image: Kwikset

— By on June 17, 2013, 4:14 PM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure