World’s oddest car keys come with a sensor to unlock your car

Written by By Mac Slavo, CNN

Meet the Car Key: a key that works inside of your car’s engine.

The oddball innovation from the Zurich firm Spiderworks was inspired by a particularly annoying experience: unlocking your car remotely, only to find your spouse or friend waiting outside.

“I imagine it will look really beautiful on the shelf at an antique shop,” says Spiderworks founder and CEO Martin Kolm.

The SmartKey engine key. Credit: Apple Design Award/Spiderworks

A prototype was placed into an automobile containing a strange sensor that would automatically open the doors and trunk if there was any kind of movement inside of the engine.

Now the device is available for order for $699. According to Kolm, the retail price will be comparable to standard ignition keys that are generally about $30 a pop.

Spiderworks was chosen for the 2018 Apple Design Award for Smart & Everyday products

Rather than replace your conventional ignition key — generally made of a rubber base that comes in a variety of colors and can be worn on the chain or in a lock box — the SmartKey gets its strength from cutting into the muscle of the engine.

According to Kolm, a prototype could operate for up to 200,000 miles (320,000 kilometers). But it will not be available to all. Instead, the entrepreneur is focusing on large manufacturers, even those who will find it too expensive to develop the device on their own.

“It’s a type of technical secret sauce that I can’t share,” Kolm says.

Car owners can email their car code to the company for their own particular version of the technology.

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