There’s something weird about house keys. We can’t live without them and yet they’re a real pain to manage most of the time. They always have to go missing just as we’re heading out the door, handing them over to a friend is a real hassle (all that twisting and tugging at the keyring) and let’s not even talk about losing them on the bus.
Now a new service called Shloosl aims to take away most of the pain, by offering a simple duplication service by mail. The key thing (hah!) is you can do all the heavy lifting using your phone camera. Just take a shot of your key/s with the phone, and email the photo/s to [email protected] . That’s it.
One of their robots, called Maximillian, will then analyze the photo of the key and automatically cut a new clone. The key is then shipped to you via snail mail, and should reach you in around 2 days. Price? A flat rate $5 per key with free shipping. It’s simple, and elegant, and the company claims the security is handled by the fact that they only accept photos with fingers specifically holding the keys (no fly by photos allowed) and every order has to be tied to a credit card for address verification.
Apparently the details of each key are also instantly destroyed after production to add another layer of security. We love the idea, but just wonder why it couldn’t be emergency one hour delivery, which would be a real value offer. We expect to see more services like this spring up as phone camera resolution improves over time. Interesting.
Honestly, I don’t think house keys are that much trouble. I have more trouble keeping my many and varied passwords sorted. Worse yet, all touted-as-better replacements have very nasty snags and drawbacks, like not working when the power is out. Simple metal keys are pretty robust.
And love this idea? Well, I knew this could be done –a paper saying it could was released not long ago so this is pretty fast commercialisation of that idea–, but notice that they require your house address information and then merely promise not to do anything like, oh, putting key and address together and making good use of that fact.
Of course they wouldn’t, but maybe someone else might, and manage to filch the information before it’s destroyed. Or they simply substitute a different shipping address, or something of the sort.
But the simple fact remains that them requiring all sorts of information from you does not better security on their part make.
So despite their good intentions and reasonable though not infallible security (the fingers, the CC stuff is horribly broken) I think I’ll not use their services after all, thank you.