Observations about a networked key

This key I've been using for few weeks reveals an interesting assemblage: a tiny LCD display inserted in the key. Some observations:

  • A smiley that smiles only if the door is inserted in the door it's meant to open. This means that the door detect which key has opened it and of course the list of visitors is kept somewhere on a server. The basic human-like representation on this key is highly odd as it reveal a sort of door guardian... that you eventually hide in your pocket afterwards.
  • The indication of a battery life... which is not very relevant for the key itself but itindicates whether the screen will be readable or not.
  • The quantity of information on a small device like this is quite intriguing.

Why do I blog this? I am fascinated by doors and the use of various technologies in door control. In this case, we have two curious ingredients of recent technologies: networked objects (this might very well be the "door case" for the Internet of Things) and a tiny display (much subtler than the so-called "urban screens").

With this kind of assemblage, the level of delegation left to the door is even more important than what it used to be. This is surely of interest in conjunction to Bruno Latour's work on this topic (see my blogpost). Opening a door is not that simple and would leave more traces than previous version of doors. As a side note, it's also interesting to contrast this version to automatic doors in train/public space/etc. In the former case, the necessity to control who opens what (in an office environment) seems to make it necessary to use this solution (before retinal scan?).