Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

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It’s never easy to crack into a market with an innovative new product but makers of the “world’s first smart fingerprint padlock” have made one critical error: they forgot about the existence of screwdrivers.

Tapplock raised $320,000 in 2016 for their product that would allow you to use just your finger to open the “unbreakable” lock. Amazing. Things took a turn for the worse when the ship date of September came and went, and backers complained that the upstart has stopped posting any updates and wasn’t responding to emails nor social media posts.

But after months of silence, the startup assured El Reg that everything was still moving forward and the delays were due to “issues with manufacturing in China.”

Fast forward 18 months and finally – finally – the $100 Tapplock is out on the market and it is… well, how do we put this kindly? Somewhat flawed.

The Aber Effect

Last night really works as a great example of the ‘Aber Effect’. Claire and I went along to Sundeep‘s housewarming party, where she was feeding curry to her housemates and those of us who came along to welcome her back into Aberystwyth. I’d also promised to help sort her computer out with an internet connection, but I’d forgotten to take the network card I’d agreed to lend her.

Having eaten, as some folks were packing up to leave, I suggested that Claire and I go and pick up the network card from The Flat, then come back and install it into Sundeep’s PC. That’s when we heard about Sundeep’s flatmate, who’d managed to lock himself out of his room. So we went back to The Flat and picked up the network card and also a set of lockpicks and a can of oil, and so when we got back Claire was able to install the network card while I picked the lock of the housemate’s room.

Having succeeded in my lockpicking attempt (after some jiggerypokery with the lockpicks and a filed-down Somerfield saver card [knew those things would come in handy]) and opened the room, the housemate offered Claire and I a pint in Scholars, which we accepted. Leaving Sundeep, we joined him and some of the other housemates in the pub for a congratulatory pint each of Old Speckled Hen.

And that’s where we bumped into Matt (in the hat), Andy K, and a friend of Andy’s who will henceforce me known as MOT. Jokes about having to renew him every year aside, we explained our plan to return to The Flat and decant the wine we’ve been brewing in our wardrobe for the last fortnight, and invited them to come join us when they’d finished their drinks. Then, needing to get a head start on them so as to start processing the wine, we set off.

On the way home, we were greeted by two separate groups of strangers, the first of whom overheard our conversation and with whom we briefly debated “the Aber effect”, and the second of whom wanted to use their camera phone to take a picture of Claire and I (although we’re not quite sure why).

We siphoned the wine into bottles, dissolved some fine sugar into it (the yeast had been somewhat overenthusiastic over the first few days and had made the wine slightly bitter and extremely alcoholic), and corked them, right on time for Matt, Andy, and MOT to arrive. We lounged, and drank wine, and were joined by JTA and Gareth, with whom we watched a few episodes of American Dad and listened to some music while the wine kicked in. Which it did, quite remarkably.

So, from a housewarming in Llanbadarn we met a guy who’s lock I picked for which he bought me a pint at a pub where I met some guys I knew and a guy I didn’t who came back to my flat where we drank homebrew wine with some folks who were at the party to begin with. This is the essence of the Aber Effect. And I love it.