When I rush out the door in the morning, I go through a basic checklist: Phone. Keys. Wallet. This is accompanied by pocket-checking dance routine that looks like the macarena performed by a zombie.
It’s hardly foolproof. But it works, I’d say, 95% of the time, depending on how scatterbrained or crusty-eyed I just so happen to be that morning. Out of that trio, my sad, frayed credit card holder that I found in a Jack Spade bargain bin is what gets left behind the most. Keys are jangly. And my phone is basically sewn to my hand.
Enter the Where’s Wallet, a new Kickstarter project launching today from Dutch design house Mijlo, which has an elegant approach for chronic wallet-forgetters. Using a sewn-in sensor, the minimal line of wallets trigger a helpful reminder on your phone should you exceed the notification range, which you set through an accompanying app.
If you get more than, say, 100 feet away from your wallet when you’re dashing to the bus stop, or climbing out of a taxi (perhaps after a few drinks), your phone will emit a gentle buzz via Bluetooth. Where’s Wallet also has an audio sensor so you can find it quickly, and a feature that tells you where your wallet was last seen on a map, should you leave it somewhere. “The data is between you and your wallet via Bluetooth,” designer Daniel Eckler explains to Fast Company in an email. “We don’t track any data!”
You might be thinking: Wallet sensors aren’t anything new. And you’re right. There’s the SmartWallit, a sensor that you clip into your wallet’s folds. And TrackR, which is basically the same thing, but bulkier.
Where’s Wallet’s approach is a little more high-minded, since the sensor is tiny and hidden behind its own flap. “Wallets are already pretty bulky, and putting a big plastic square into your card holder isn’t appealing for a lot of people,” says Eckler. “It takes up space, it’s not pleasant to look at, and ironically it’s easy to lose! We decided early on that we wanted to make the technology invisible, integrated into a simple, beautiful, high-quality wallet.”
This approach has its drawbacks. You will, for example, have to replace the battery every 10 months or so. But building a companion app with a location sensor makes for some cool potential features (which are said to be forthcoming), like a reverse-phone finder, which will trigger an audio reminder on your phone when you give your wallet a shake.
Where’s Wallet will come in three varieties if it meets its $30,000 funding goal: A card holder ($49), a bifold ($69), and a clutch ($99). Each is said to be made of 100% vegetable-tanned leather, and though I can’t speak to the quality of the craftsmanship, I like the approach overall.