ANN ARBOR, MI — A technology company that developed a keyless smart lock for homes is being recognized with an innovation award by the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show.
PassiveBolt, based out of Ann Arbor SPARK, was spun off from a June 2018 project by Continental, where Kabir Maiga worked on keyless car entry technology that conveniently allows anyone to unlock their vehicles by touching the door handle as long as the key fob was nearby.
What became a standard technology in more than 120 vehicles was something Maiga said he wanted to extend to home entry, with extra layers of security. So he created Shepherd Lock.
“Shepherd brings many firsts. It’s the first and only product that’s not just a door lock, it’s a home security device that monitors your lock 24/7,” Maiga said. “The deadbolt… can be beaten. You can pick the lock. You can bump it. There’s no way to track when that can happen… We’re able to detect such activities.”
The Shepherd Lock is placed on the inside of the door, replacing the existing interior hardware with a sensor, Maiga said. Homeowners can keep the existing exterior lock, doorknob and keys, but will have a virtual key to open the door. If a break-in or lock pick occurs is attempted, the company will immediately notify the owner through a mobile application and the the system freezes the lock.
The virtual key exists in the app, along with a physical key fob as a back up. The app works on any smartphone or smart device, Maiga said, and owners can permanently or temporarily give virtual key access to anyone with a smart device, and revoke it at any time.
The lock costs $249. Pre-ordering is available, but deliveries won’t begin until March 2020.
The Consumer Electronics Show is recognizing PassiveBolt with an innovation award in the Smart Home category, based on the engineering and design quality. The company will receive the award during the January show in Las Vegas.
“This is the first and only product that’s able to know
Maiga said the product is unique in that is senses when a door is opened or closed without using magnets on doors like a home security system.
“Our product tracks the angle… it knows when your door is open by how much and when it’s shut,” Maiga added.
The lock has two layers of encryption that would require a lot of computing power to crack the code, he added. Users are also notified if the battery is low. The lock takes four AA batteries that can power the device for a year at a time, Maiga said.
“Our company’s vision is to transform the way you get in and out of secure spaces into a seamless, passive and frictionless experience. The home is our first step. We want to extend it to hotels, stadiums, anywhere where there’s exclusive. secure access,” Maiga said. “We envision a keyless society.”
Maiga said PassiveBolt also hopes to play a role in developing Michigan’s technology talent pool.
“There’s a point we want to prove. You can take a technology from Michigan’s automotive heart land and transform that technology… and be successful at it,” Maiga said. “That could be the viable avenue… to help Michigan grow and diversify beyond automotive.”