KeyMe stores keys digitally, cuts them when you forget yours
By David Szondy
July 1, 2013
Getting locked out of the house is especially frustrating when you’ve forgotten the “safe” place where you hid the spare key. As an alternative to sleeping in the garden shed or emergency locksmith fees, KeyMe allows you to store a digital version of your house key in the cloud from which a duplicate key can be cut on demand.
The KeyMe kiosk is fairly straightforward in terms of operation. After creating an account, the kiosk scans your key and stores the pattern in the cloud for later access. When you want to cut a new key from the pattern, you can visit any KeyMe kiosk, which will retrieve the pattern after you identify yourself by a fingerprint scan. You then select from a choice of keys, including decorative keys and a combination key and bottle opener option, and the kiosk does the rest.
The kiosk uses what KeyMe describes as “advanced robotics” to cut a key in 30 seconds and the company claims that it is more accurate than hardware store or locksmith key-cutting machines. However, though it cuts home and office keys, it won’t do car keys. This isn't surprising, since most modern cars use a key with a programmed microchip to prevent theft – if they have keys at all.
KeyMe emphasizes that the system is secure. The pattern is stored in the cloud is encrypted and can only be retrieved by means of fingerprint identification and opening a KeyMe account requires a secure credit card. No information is stored that could identify where the key might be used and a confirmation email is sent to you whenever a duplicate is cut.
The KeyMe kiosks are manufactured in partnership with Benchmark Electronics, Inc and will be be deployed at select 7-Eleven stores in the New York City area. While storing key patterns is free, cutting a key from the pattern costs US$19.99. Copying keys in hand without a stored pattern is also possible for $3.49 to $5.99, depending on the key design selected.