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Teo Bluetooth padlock lets you secure school lockers, chains & gates with Apple's iPhone

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
The humble padlock has hardly changed for thousands of years, but AppleInsider recently talked to one company who believes they can make a better one --?by using your iPhone as the key.

Teo


Whether securing cargo on ancient Roman trade routes or fortifying a schoolchild's locker against prying eyes, the elements of a padlock are simple: a metal shackle attached to a locking mechanism, hinged at one end and latched at the other. Gord Duncan doesn't want to alter that winning formula, he just wants to change the way we use it.

"At the end of the day, we're not replacing the lock, we're replacing the key," he told AppleInsider via phone from his office in Canada's Yukon territory.

Duncan is the inventor of the Teo, an electronic padlock that accepts digital keys blasted over a Bluetooth Low Energy connection from a smartphone, tablet, or other BLE-enabled device. The idea surfaced while Duncan was exploring Costa Rica with his family --?he worried what might happen if he lost the keys to the rented SUV the group was traveling in, stranding them in a remote area.

"I'm deathly afraid I'm gonna lose these things, 'cause we're gonna be in a world of pain," he said, "and I thought, wouldn't it be great if you could lock this carabiner?"

Teo


Once back home, Duncan continued to refine his idea and began working with Vancouver-based industrial design studio Form3 to craft a prototype. Along the way, a mutual friend introduced Duncan to Heliox Technologies, a stealthy Silicon Valley firm that makes hardened products --?like deep dive computers --?for the U.S. military.

With both Form3 and Heliox on board, Duncan said the goal was simple.

"I wanted a design like an Apple, and I wanted it to function like a Leatherman," a folding multitool widely lauded by craftsmen and outdoor enthusiasts for its quality and rugged construction.

The trio experimented with a variety of designs, including one based around a special type of wire made from a metal alloy that contracts when an electrical current is run through it, like muscles in the human body. The wire, called Flexinol, was ultimately shelved after they spent a significant amount of time prototyping around the technology.

Eventually, they settled on a rectangular design with an L-shaped housing for the electronics and latching mechanism. A similarly-formed shackle pivots into the closed position, rather than sinking into the body like conventional padlocks.

Teo


Security, Duncan stressed, has been a development priority since work on the Teo began more than two years ago, emphasizing technical partner Heliox's extensive experience building mission-critical military hardware. He said the crew consulted specifications from traditional padlocks to ensure the finished device would work in all of the places a padlock would ordinarily be used.

"At the end of the day, it is a lock, and it has to do what a lock does really well. We have to make sure we don't leave any doubt about that when we go to market with this," he added.

Since the Teo is an electronic lock, hardware is only half of the equation. Duncan and his team have also worked to innovate on the software side, imagining a future where the Teo's electronic keys can be shared --?or revoked --?as easily as sending a text message.

One scenario from the Teo's early marketing materials shows the lock securing a bicycle, while the bike's owner grants access to his friend remotely via a companion app. The Teo's creators also have enterprise integration in mind, allowing businesses to have the same type of access control over toolboxes and work sheds that they do over buildings.



With working prototypes in hand and a clear manufacturing roadmap, Duncan has taken to Kickstarter to raise funds for the final production push and to gauge public support for the idea. At press time, the campaign had raised CA$25,660 of its CA$165,000 goal in just over five days.

If the campaign is successful, Duncan aims to launch the Teo in December of this year. No matter the outcome, though, he is appreciative of the effort it has taken to get this far.

"We faced lots of challenges getting to where we got to here. It turns out it's not a slam dunk," he said. "It took some pretty bright people working at the top of the game to get us to where we are."
post #2 of 48

Cell phones? Banned at school.

Locker lock? Requires cell phone.

 

Great going.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #3 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Cell phones? Banned at school.

Locker lock? Requires cell phone.

 

Great going.

 

Are they banned, or do the kids just have to keep their phones in their lockers?

post #4 of 48
Looks and sounds like a winner, hope they get the remaining investment in order to produce them. I do wonder how long the battery on the lock will last.
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #5 of 48
I really like the idea. This is a product I 100% would buy.
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post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Cell phones? Banned at school.
Locker lock? Requires cell phone.


Great going.

Please don't limit your thinking to US. Other parts of the world where phones are not banned you know 1wink.gif
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post #7 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The humble padlock has hardly changed for thousands of years, 

 

Thousands?

post #8 of 48

Not banned in our school district.

post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Cell phones? Banned at school.

Locker lock? Requires cell phone.

 

Great going.

 

In other parts of the world cell phones are allowed in schools. Beside, this company is Canadian. It seems to require Bluetooth 4.0 device so new iPads and iPod touches should work and as far as I know they are not banned from schools.

post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Are they banned, or do the kids just have to keep their phones in their lockers?

Many schools ban them outright, and will confiscate them.
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
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post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCGOO View Post

Thousands?

Surprisingly yes, did a quick search, saw a Viking padlock, and the Romans had padlocks as well.
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post #12 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Surprisingly yes, did a quick search, saw a Viking padlock, and the Romans had padlocks as well.

 

I suspect there has been a handful of rather substantial "design changes" along the way  :)

post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCGOO View Post

I suspect there has been a handful of rather substantial "design changes" along the way  1smile.gif

Judge for yourself.

This one is from the Vikings era.
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post #14 of 48
Hackers and thieves would absolutely love breaking this lock. A hacker can do this from a distance.
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post
 

 

Are they banned, or do the kids just have to keep their phones in their lockers?

Either way, you can’t use this on the typical school locker in the U.S. So just like Tallest says... great going.

 

Plus, this thing obviously has to have a battery to work. What happens the day the battery goes dead and you don’t have the physical key?

post #16 of 48
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Are they banned, or do the kids just have to keep their phones in their lockers?

 

Oh, that’s helpful. :lol: 

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #17 of 48
Curious how this is going to be powered? AA batteries, something rechargeable? And what happens if the batteries die?
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fetch View Post

Curious how this is going to be powered? AA batteries, something rechargeable? And what happens if the batteries die?

They said the same thing back in 1870 about the newfangled horseless carriages powered by liquid petrol. "And what happens if you run out of fuel?" It was clearly something you didn't have to worry about with a horse in the middle of a journey. 1smile.gif

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post #19 of 48
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Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

They said the same thing back in 1870 about the newfangled horseless carriages powered by liquid petrol. "And what happens if you run out of fuel?" It was clearly something you didn't have to worry about with a horse in the middle of a journey. 1smile.gif

I had a feeling you were old but not that old. lol.gif
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post #20 of 48

haha ... so they're powered by horses? what? ... I'm kidding

After I posted I was looking at design sketches to figure out what they are thinking ... I'm going to say battery (deep. Obviously) but with a physical key backup that would grant access to the lock and the battery compartment. ... Or a spot to attach a pony.

post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

Are they banned, or do the kids just have to keep their phones in their lockers?

 

Oh, that’s helpful. :lol: 

 

I thought it was amusing, anyway.

post #22 of 48

Great idea.  However, it looks like the actual locking mechanism does not have a lot of 'interlock' to make it hard to break with a good twist.  

 

My MasterLock has a notch in its main hackle to interlock with the locking mechanism to make it hard to force open with a strong blow.  

 

When they have version 2.0 of this that can withstand the bullet shot and not open, then this will be a winning product!!!

 

Great idea.  Hope that they keep improving it.  I can't wait till I don't have to remember my combo or find my keys and can just carry my phone around.

post #23 of 48
What happens if you lose your phone or it gets stolen? Is there a plan "b" to unlock it? Like say for example keeping your key in the iCloud password database so you can borrow someone else's phone to unlock it?
post #24 of 48

Great Idea...though the lock does not look like its that strong..maybe i'm wrong we see..

 

def would buy if i felt like it was a strong security lock and system.

post #25 of 48

I'm assuming with a good crowbar, you could probably bust this lock open but that's probably true for many locks out there today. Nice design Duncan from a proud fellow British Columbian. And as far as cell phones banned in public schools, that's simply not the case here in BC.

 

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post #26 of 48
I love my phone more than I lose a key. This is definitely not for me.
post #27 of 48
It'd be good if it could integrate with Touch ID, if the App that opened the lock could accept it.
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post #28 of 48

This is a stupid idea for anything more than bare minimum security needs.  If you don't believe me, I'll demonstrate with a gas torch or cigarette lighter.


Edited by cnocbui - 1/12/14 at 4:43am
post #29 of 48
Should have called it Keo not Teo
post #30 of 48
So why is this better than a no key required combo lock which is simpler and cheaper than a digital lock?
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Cell phones? Banned at school.

Locker lock? Requires cell phone.

 

Great going.

Maybe in Indiana but cell phones aren't banned anywhere here that I know of. I think this company knows a lot more about their potential market than you. 

post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryS View Post

So why is this better than a no key required combo lock which is simpler and cheaper than a digital lock?

No re-keying, can change security profiles of people to only allow certain locks, can give temporary remote access to the lock to a friend, can track who opened up what lock and when. To name a few.

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post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

 

Are they banned, or do the kids just have to keep their phones in their lockers?

 


Does it matter?
If the phone is in the locker, how do they open the locker?
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post
 

 

Are they banned, or do the kids just have to keep their phones in their lockers?

 


Does it matter?
If the phone is in the locker, how do they open the locker?

Wait, I know that one: log in remotely to the phone!

Or have an iWatch that communicates with the iPhone inside the locker.

Or ask the local geek who stole the keys of everyone... 

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Cell phones? Banned at school.

Locker lock? Requires cell phone.

 

Great going.

LOL- Thats what I was going to say. Banned at my kids school.

post #36 of 48
Our school system is to cheap to provide enough computers to use the electronic textbooks and teaching materials they have committed to using. So they now encourage the students to byod (bring your own device). I think someone screwed up on the book negations, so last year devices like iPads and iPods were banned from schools below the high school level to practically begging students to bring their own.

So yeah, I could see this becoming popular in our district.
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post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

Judge for yourself.

This one is from the Vikings era.

Man, hang that lock off a chastity belt, and I guarantee some one is going to be walking with a limp. 1smoking.gif
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post #38 of 48

Hmm, I guess people skipped over the Kickstarter page. Apparently, they're also working on a key fob (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/804149834/teo-the-future-of-the-padlock-is-here#project_faq_78216). Furthermore, this lock will also work with an iPad (with Bluetooth 4.0); great for kids with one of those. Oh, those darn details...

post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post
 

 

Are they banned, or do the kids just have to keep their phones in their lockers?

 


Does it matter?
If the phone is in the locker, how do they open the locker?

 

When you spotted that, did it occur to you that you might have missed the point of my post?

post #40 of 48
Yukon is not a province of Canada. It is a territory.
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