College Students Invent A Device That Unlocks Your Doors With A Secret Knock [VIDEO]

Having a secret knock to get let into a locked room is simply cool. It’s a tradition used in secret societies for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

An Indiegogo campaign from a pair of college students aims to bring the tradition of secret knocks to the world for anyone to use with their idea for a new product, “Knock Knock Lock.

Knock Knock Lock is a key dispenser, essentially. It involves a small computer that attaches to a door and monitors for knocking noises. If a knocking pattern matches the pattern of a knock-sequence that has been programmed into the system, the computer will instruct a tray at the bottom of the door to release a key that it holds inside. The knocker would then be able to take the key and unlock the door.

While this might not be the most secure method of preventing entry into a certain area, it could be among the most fun of ways to unlock said locked doors. On their Indiegogo campaign, where they are seeking to raise $7,500 over the next 35 days, the inventors presented the use case of a college dorm where someone went to a communal shower but forgot to take a key, with the Knock Knock Lock being the saving grace of the would-be locked-out roommate.

The first 50 people to fund Knock Knock Lock at the level of $35 would get in on the inventors’ early bird special and get their own version of the device after the inventors refine the design and release it to the public. As of the writing of this blog post, however, Knock Knock Lock had yet to receive any funding.

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  • Evan Stoddard

    Something like this was actually invented before these students “invented” it. It actually unlocked the door and it was based off an arduino.

  • Brian

    So all I need to do is stand within earshot of the door and listen to the cadence and its as good as having their key. (uh oh) Back to the drawing board. Neat though

    • nynetguy

      Not at all. With even a moderately sensitive sensor one could tap out the code rather quietly. there’s no need to pound on the door like a caveman. Of course, a key pad or even a fingerprint swipe pad would have been even more secure.

      • Bob Penick

        I agree that a keypad or fingerprint reader would be more secure but think from a college student’s perspective. This is something they are adding to a dorm room door. I doubt that a college would allow the students to change out the lock to something the college would not have access to. This device could be taped/stuck to the inside of a door and nothing would be modified.

        • nynetguy

          I know. I’m not saying the actual doorlock to the room should have either of those. I’m saying the box itself should have either the number pad or the finger swipe.

          • Bob Penick

            nynetguy, maybe I’m misunderstanding you. If the device is inside the room you are trying to enter what good does a number pad or finger swipe area do when they would be on the other side of the door? Now, if you had an RFID reader on the key dispensor inside the room, that would work through the door. But then you’d have to remember to carry the RFID fob around. Oh yeah, it’s hanging on my keyring that I left in the room.

          • nynetguy

            You totally are misunderstanding me.
            The original complaint to which I was responding was that any person could stand within earshot, overhear the “secret” knock and be able to gain entry.
            I was merely pointing out that a key lockbox which made use of either a keypad or some form of biometric device would be more secure.
            It’s the exact same thing, a lockbox stuck on a door with a key inside but uses something other than tapping out a secret code to gain access to the key.

  • Mike

    why not just interface the knock knock device with an electronic deadbolt?

  • Jeff T

    Why not just build it into the lock so you don’t even need the key?

  • Scott

    Why dont they just become more responsible and carry a key in their pocket?

  • Max Lesser

    Hey guys,
    One of the creators of the project here. I understand your concerns about security and laziness (not just carrying around a key). The main purpose of the Knock Knock Lock is to replace the outdated ‘spare key under the doormat’. It isn’t meant to replace the keys you keep with you all the time, or the lock on your door. It’s meant to be a slightly more secure, and fun, way to leave yourself a spare key, in the event that you do lock yourself out.

    • ray martinez

      are you looking for investors?

      • Max Lesser

        Right now, we’re just focusing on the indiegogo project to gauge interest. If you want to help get the Knock Knock Lock off the ground, though, all donations to the indiegogo campaign are greatly appreciated, and the more we get during the campaign the more likely we are to turn it around afterwards and look for further funding to produce more.

  • Patrick O’Neil

    Nice way to have a spare key handy.

  • David Phok

    yeah it existed a while ago looks like the controller were already built

    • Max Lesser

      We used an arduino for the prototype shown in the video, but aside from that and other standard components like the breadboard and piezo sensor everything was made from scratch.

  • David Phok

    the spin concept might be cool design but a slide with a trap door would do the same job

  • Binladen

    Max lesser, I like it and how can I help fund this idea please. If anything I think it is great for any community to support each other, with great ideas like this. £25.00 sterling is nothing, and son long as it can not be broken into, it’s a great idea. It’s own personal choice wether you think you can make up an elaborate enough knock to use it efficiently or not.

    • Max Lesser

      Thanks for the support! To support the campaign you can check out the link in the article, or go to the indiegogo website and search ‘Knock Knock Lock’.

  • Rich

    Hey guys….I read some of the disparaging remarks below. Don’t worry about that. It is part of the process. If you believe in it then keep moving forward!

  • necrodiety

    Kudos for trying this, but it will never be a retail success. What about doors with an under mount sweep? What about security (someone overhearing the knock)? This is a fun and neat project for the Arduino community, but I just don’t see it as a retail product. If it were me, I would make a peephole mounted kit. Most homes and (and some college dorm rooms) have peepholes. Mount the arduino/battery in the back, key module in front.

  • CPP

    Let me start this off by saying that I am a certified protection professional by the ASIS International. Security is my job.
    I do not mean to rain on their parade or crash on their dream. However, I see a few issues with this device.
    First, the aplication for this type of device is limited to very few doors and especially not any residence or resturant door. Maybe it would work ok in a dorm or even an apartment that is within a building. If my front door in Michigan had a large enough opening to get this device to work at the bottom, I’d be in trouble when winter hits. A large gap at the bottom would allow hot air out and too much cold air in during th winter months. Just the opposite during the summer. Not to mention, rodents would have access to the room behind the door if the bottom was that wide. The department of health would be all over that issue if it was on a resturant door. Does anyone have that large of a gap at the bottom of their door?
    Not to mention, if you’r neighbor hears you enter your secret knock code then he could gain access as well. It would have to be changed routinely then you would find yourself in the same situation when you forgot your code. There are too many other options . . . such as hiding the key under a rock.

    • Coolbro

      The video said it was supposed to be a fun way to lock doors. For a secret club or something? Anyways, I like it and I want one.

      • CPP

        If the goal is fun and their is an opening on the bottom of the door, then it will work great. I say go for it. Another option is to just leave the door unlocked too.

        • Robert Gittings

          I totally agree! For security of a home or dorm this is not ideal, there are too many security risks. It’s a simple matter of not being lazy and just take your key with you in a secure place like a secure jacket pocket and keep a spare key somewhere safe like at a trust worthy friends house or security deposit box.

          Plus for students this knock knock idea is not ideal, let me elaborate… College students including myself store very expensive equipment in their rooms which they use on a daily basis like a high spec computer or TV.

          I personally wouldn’t want some stranger or an untrustworthy neighbour over hearing my secret knock!

          I only see this as a fun thing for a kids to secure a club/tree house or something that doesn’t contain valuable things or even just a way to open up a secret compartment of a chest. People who build tree houses etc… usually have enough know how will jury rig their own devices to do similar things.

          A better idea would be to create a device that opens a door which is password protected and if you don’t have a key you can simply use your mobile phone to enter the code to unlock the door.

    • Jake

      Like they said, it was made to be used in a dorm room, not a door to the outside. It’s a good idea and it is slightly more secure than leaving a key under your mat.

      • CPP

        Did they say dorm? I heard them say in the video, “When you get locked out of your house.” They said they locked themselves out of their “room.” Maybe you assumed it was a dorm room.

  • Jeff

    Why not invent a lock that’s somethin like WiFi based that when your phone is in range, it automatically unlocks? Just have same security as WiFis?

    • Jeff

      Or have an app that links up to it with it’s own WiFi, and once it links, the app will work with only a lock and unlock button?

    • Jeff

      Or even Bluetooth is more secure than someone learning your knock

  • Guy Incognito

    RFID reader outside of door, and implant in arm. Done!
    Possibly incorporate NFC using an Android phone??

  • Rob

    Why hour an unbiased review? I’m Robert Haynes a former systems analyst, now IT professional. Also electronics technician which is were I started and led me to my present career.
    Why don’t you let me review the knock Key lock and you’ll have an unbiased review of its pros and cons frankly I love the Idea. And of course The item can be sent back to you afterwards I know how startup costs can be and a good review shows your serious about your future product and plan to keep moving forward. I review cameras for several Sellers now but I liked the idea and thought id offer my services. If you W would like your product reviewed and feel its ready (frankly if it does what the animation shows then its ready regardless of the setup) it realize its beta and week take a small amount of setup.
    So if you’d like a review from Us just contact us via email:
    beyondballistic@gmail.com
    I’m Rob Haynes with “New online idea reviews” let us know
    Good Luck!

  • csidyu

    This would be great for my kids since they are always losing their keys or forgetting them in the house. This could easily be installed in a shed or treehouse so that someone could nock on the shed/treehouse door and then retrieve the key for the house. This is a good option for the hidden key.

    You could easily put insulation or a container around the device to protect against outside elements getting in to the house/apartment/shed. It can be easily installed by notching out the door if you don’t want your door to have a gap at the bottom. The device can be made wireless so you don’t have to attach the compartment to the door but can be installed anywhere within wireless range (exterior wall, shed, tree house, etc.). For the people that want more security there can be a pro version that has an app for codes, finger print scanning or even a wireless keypad/scanner.

  • frederickpou

    I know of many issues with this thing already, but this is a good idea for those individuals with only “ONE” locking mechanism on their doors…. Good idea though!

  • Jdbye

    This isn’t that great. There’s an instructable on how to make something like this with an Arduino, except it actually unlocks your door instead of dispensing a key. This thing looks like it can be easily broken into with the right tools.
    It’s actually cheaper to make your own by following that instructable rather than buying this (if you make a barebones Arduino – the full size ones are rather pricy and are more suited for prototyping than something you’re actually installing in your house)

  • Wonsang Lee

    just buy a numberlock

  • ETC

    Hi….great cuoncept especially for students who forget their keys…….couldn’t the knock knock pattern just open the door itself through an audible lock receiver connected to a yale lock rather than dropping down a device with a key……..? Just a thought…..