Dutch team designs wallet that "cannot be lost"
Losing a wallet is always a massive headache, both for the financial loss and the hassle involved in cancelling cards. In order to prevent such incidents, a team of designers based in Rotterdam has created a smart wallet range enabled with wireless technology, which they claim makes the wallet and its contents 100 percent secure.
Called Ekster, which means magpie in Dutch, the wallet features a tracker that operates on Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. A custom app called Protag (iOS and Android) enables the user to locate the wallet by making it ring if it goes missing. Similar in function to the Walli and the SmartWallit, the app also alerts the user when they leave the wallet behind, and they go out of range. In this case, the user receives a separation alert with the time and place where they lost it.
To increase the possibilities of retrieving a wallet, Ekster features a crowd GPS network. When another Protag user is within range of a lost wallet, the concerned user receives a GPS update so they can contact that person.
In case it's the phone that has gone astray, the user can make it ring by pressing the reverse tracking button on the wallet, even when the phone is in silent mode.
To help keep cards secure, Ekster includes an aluminum cardholder to prevent data theft by blocking out all signals. This is because modern cards have RFID/NFC technology embedded in them, and they can be duplicated from a distance.
The Ekster range includes two options: the wallet and the card holder, for which the tracker is optional. One of the concerns was to avoid bulkiness, so both are slimmer than conventional wallets. A slim USB charger feeds the tracker battery, which the makers claim lasts up to six months per charge. A spring-loaded mechanism enables the user to access the cards by pressing a button that ejects them.
Ekster has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring the product to market. The Parliament wallet is a brown or black leather bi-fold unit that can hold up to 12 business cards, coins and keys. It offers RFID protection for five cards, and can store several more in the multi-purpose strap and pockets. It can be had for a pledge of US$89, if all goes according to plans.
The Senate cardholder carries up to eight cards, holds five RFID-protected cards and stores several more cards in a multi-purpose strap. It is made of brown or black leather and costs $69, tracker included.
The team says it has outsourced every component of the product to specialists in each related industry – all of them in the Netherlands – including manufacturing.