Solar-powered smart wallet reveals its whereabouts with voice commands
The sinking stomach that accompanies a lost wallet will be all too familiar for some, but thankfully there are plenty of options emerging to help keep tabs on such things. The Ekster 3.0 is the latest trackable wallet to hit the scene, and with voice control and clever card-dispensing mechanism, has more than a few handy tricks up its sleeve.
We first heard of Dutch startup Ekster in 2015 when it debuted its first wallet on Kickstarter. It has now returned to the crowdfunding platform with its third take on the lost wallet problem.
The RFID-blocking Ekster 3.0 is crafted from leather and is just 0.15 in (0.38 cm) thick, with enough capacity to hold at least 12 cards. Six of these can be accessed without opening the wallet up thanks to a trigger mechanism that when pulled, slides a selection of cards out of the top end for easy pickings.
Packed inside is a reinvented GPS tracking card, designed in collaboration with Chipolo, that's a quarter of a centimeter thick (0.09 in). This features a solar panel that charges up the tracker in three hours of sunlight, which is enough power for two months of use, and allows the wallet to be tracked all over the globe. Through Bluetooth 4.2, the wallet maintains a connection with a paired smartphone over up to 200 ft (60 m), and alerts the user's device immediately once they go out of range.
Users can also trigger an alarm on the tracker from their phone, but if it still slips away unnoticed, it will also hook up with Chipolo's worldwide GPS tracker network. This means that when any Chipolo user comes within range of the item, the owner will receive a GPS update of its location.
Also new on the third generation Ekster wallet is compatibility with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. If you're in a rush out the door and can't find your wallet, this means through your phone or smart speaker you can say "Alexa, ask Chipolo to ring my wallet," to sound the alarm and promptly get on with your day.
Available in a range of colors, pledges for the Ekster 3.0 wallet start at €35 (US$40) with shipping slated for March 2019, if the campaign runs as planned. You can check out the pitch video below.