Smartphone-enabled electronic door locks such as the Unikey, Lockitron and Goji do have advantages over their traditional counterparts – digital “keys” can be sent to multiple users’ phones, access to locked rooms can be limited to specific dates and/or times for certain users, and keys stored on lost phones can simply be deactivated. However, as with just about any electronic version of a purely-mechanical device, they do introduce one complicating factor: they require a power supply. The Recordura lock, however, generates its own electricity when users push on its handle.

Every time the handle is used, an energy-harvesting mechanism within the lock generates enough power to run built-in RFID and NFC readers. Between the two of them, they’re capable of reading either physical card keys, or the signal emitted by an NFC-equipped smartphone loaded with a digital key. Assuming the card or key is legit, the system then unlocks the door.

What this means for users and installers is that no batteries or electrical wiring are required, each lock remaining completely self-sufficient. Should administrators wish to change the access privileges of an individual user (such as allowing one-time access to a certain room), they do so by sending an update to the key on that person’s phone. When such a key is used, a record of the time and location of its use can be wirelessly sent to the administrators.

In emergency situations where a room simply has to be accessed immediately, a physical key can still be used in the provided receptacle (see photo above).

The Recordura lock is the result of an EU-funded collaboration between German tech firm Horatio, Spain’s Metal-Processing Technology Institute, and Luxembourg-based IT security developer TUOMI. Business partners are currently being sought.

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