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Hands-free fob replaces front door keys


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Hands-free fob replaces front door keys

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A Berlin-based start-up company is hoping to revolutionise the way we get into our homes.

The idea is to swap a traditional metal key for a Kiwi Ki – a little plastic square which automatically unlocks your door as you get close.

It is essentially a transponder, which uses radio-frequency identification technology.

The Kiwi Ki is said to be the first of its kind to connect to a smartphone app, meaning doors can also be opened remotely.

“I had the idea for Kiwi in November 2007. I had just had my first son and I was standing in front of an apartment building like this one, with a baby in one arm and bags over the other,” explained Claudia Nagel, Co-Founder of Kiwi.ki.

“It was raining and it was cold and I couldn’t find my key. That’s when I thought there had to be an easier way to open doors.”

More than 15-thousand households in Berlin have access to the system. Recycling collectors in the city are testing it out too.

Instead of a ring of metal keys, they now have 20 Kiwi Kis to open more than a thousand doors.

The technology is not new. It is already used in car keys and as part of office security systems.

“It is much more secure than a normal key. A normal key can be copied easily, sometimes just from a photograph,” said Henryk Ploetz, a security analyst.

“With this one you can’t do that. That is the case for all contactless keys, but this one is as secure or more secure than all other contactless systems.”

The system costs around 400 euros to install and the keys are rented out on a monthly basis.

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