Some wearable tech products pack a lot of varied and complex functionality into small, sleek devices. This smart wallet from Mijlo, a Toronto-based company that creates and sells minimalist, space-efficient home, fashion and lifestyle products, does not. And that's a good thing.
The wallet is smart in the sense that it has a chip tucked into an inner pocket that connects to the owner's phone via Bluetooth and makes it trackable on an accompanying app, rendering it impossible to lose — that's the goal, at least. After syncing the device with his or her phone, the user can set a notification range on the app (called "Where's Wallet"); when the phone and the wallet get separated beyond that distance, the user will get an alert and the app will help relocate the wallet.
After what Mijlo founder Daniel Eckler says was about four to six months of development, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday to put Where's Wallet through production. (As of Wednesday, it had raised more than $10,000 of its $30,000 goal.) The team developed three models: a simple slip wallet that will go for $49, a bifold wallet priced at $69 and a $99 women's clutch, all leather and super streamlined.
That simplicity in both design and technical scope is what's really nice about the concept: it only aims to solve one problem, but that problem is a very real one, especially if you're the type to forget your belongings at the bar. According to Eckler, the biggest design challenge was creating the clutch, simply because he's not a woman. The initial design was a bit too masculine, he says, and after toying around with adding a chain strap and repeatedly consulting a female intern, the team landed on the present design. Thanks to the boom in Bluetooth technology that's happened in the last few years, manufacturing the hardware turned out to be pretty straightforward, Eckler says.
As far as wearable tech goes, Eckler says he's a fan of Ringly, the Bluetooth-enabled ring, because it notifies the wearer of incoming messages or calls from certain contacts. The rest get filtered out. It makes sense that he'd be interested in that side of wearable devices; in founding Mijlo, his guiding philosophy was that simplicity is straight-up better for people's mental health. Of course, aesthetics matter, too.
"People get really excited about wearables, but for most people I think they want something that looks good," he adds. "They want something that’s nice and that doesn’t look like a pager on your hip. That's what wearables feel like today, and that will get sorted out."
We'd say this wallet is a step in that direction.