Smart keyholder device



Nowadays we have several ways to open our locks. We use NFC chips, demotics, networks, a key or if we really do not know how to open a lock: a pair of pliers. But mainly we just use a key. Although the way of the key slowly decreases, we can make the key (or rather the key ring) a smart device.


UX/UI, Interaction Design, Product Design

  • Client

    None, self initiated project
  • Date

  • Technology

    3D printing, Arduino, Phonegap
  • Projection duration

    One and a half month

The assignment

Design and introduce an innovative physical smart object within the theme "wearables".

The problem

Sometimes we don't know if we locked our doors, or we just think we forgot it. Sometimes we lose our keys. Sometimes we can't place the key correctly in the lock while it is dark. There already is a solution for this, called demotics. Just add an app to your phone that connects with the network lock(s) in for example your house, bicycle or safe... But then you should have these (expensive) network locks and replace all your locks.

To find an accessible solution for the problems the locks and the keys must stay. The smart device should be an add-on instead of a replacement of the current system. An adjustment to the keys would be easiest. That is why a kind of sleeve has been designed where the keys can be placed. This sleeve is filled with sensors.


The sleeve measures the movements of the key, but only when one of the keys is in the lock. The measures start when a key is folder out. When a rotational movement is made, the sleeve will detect it as locked or open. Using keys in the dark is sometimes unhandy, so a LED light at both sides of the Bro-key prevent that from happening. This LED's are automatically activated when it is dark and a key is folder out. GPS and bluetooth also included.

brokey 2

The 3D printing of the sleeve

Bro-key app

In the app you can connect your Bro-key (with bluetooth activated). You will go through a configuration wizard that helps you setup your locks. The device learns the movements for every key that are needed to open a lock. If there are several people using the locks, they must also have a bro-key. You can then share the configuration with the other bro-key users. For example, you can provide a household with two children and parents with four bro-keys. The parents can then always check whether the children have locked the locks when, for example, they go to school.

brokey 3

Screens of the Bro-key app (in Dutch)

The bro-key has been developed into an application and prototype. Unfortunately it is not further developed due to lack of (project) time.

brokey 4

Top and side view of the prototype