A company called Dog & Bone, which is best known for making protective cases for smartphones, has given the TSA-approved travel lock a thoroughly modern makeover. These lightweight – yet tough – padlocks are designed to keep unsavory characters from gaining access to our belongings, but can still pass through airport security checkpoints without causing any undue issues. But this latest incarnation of the travel lock does away with traditional key or combination methods for opening, and replaces it with a high-tech solution instead.
The new LockSmart Travel is the latest in D&B’s LockSmart line of Bluetooth enabled padlocks. At first glance, these devices look like most other padlocks you’ve seen in the past, but they don’t come with any keys, nor do they have a keyhole for unlocking them either. Instead, you pair the lock with your iPhone or Android device via Bluetooth, and open them using a special app. The app also allows you to share access with others at any time, either on a permanent or temporary basis, and can alert you when the lock has been opened too.
These same features have been brought to the LockSmart Travel, just in a smaller, more travel-friendly package that has been approved for use by the TSA. The lock weighs just 2.1 ounces, and measures 2.7″ in length, making it one of the more diminutive Bluetooth-enabled locks that we’ve ever seen. That also makes it the perfect size for road warriors who like to travel light, as this device won’t add much bulk to your bags.
In addition to the usual LockSmart features, the Travel version also has a few new tricks up its sleeve. For instance, when the luggage it is attached to is within Bluetooth range, you’ll be able to see where it is on a map and receive a notification when it gets close to you. This comes in handy when you’re waiting at a busy luggage carousel and aren’t sure where your bag is at exactly. But even more intriguing than that, Dog & Bone is building a crowdsourced information network in which users automatically share the location of other SmartLocks that are near by, giving you the ability to see where your bags are at any given time and anywhere in the world – at least in theory. Until more people purchase the LockSmart Travel and begin using it however, this feature will remain spotty at best.
That said, it may not take all that long for that crowdsourced network to grow after all. The LockSmart Travel went on sale a few weeks back, and quickly sold out, indicating that there is plenty of interest and demand in a Bluetooth padlock for travel. More of the devices are expected to begin shipping soon, which means we should start to see them turn up in airports, and making real time tracking a much more viable feature. That could prove invaluable in the future for finding lost luggage.
For now though, you can order a LockSmart Travel of your very own for $59.95. That is, of course, more expensive than a standard travel lock, but with the convenience it provides it should make for a useful travel companion. Plus, you never have to worry about losing your keys ever again.