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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you probably missed the saga of my missing luggage during my recent trip to Berlin for IFA. A week in a lovely European city with no luggage sucks, but if I’d had Airbolt, a new travel lock from Melbourne based company Airbolt, maybe I could have avoided that.

The lock is Bluetooth enabled and controlled by an app on your smartphone to allow you to open the lock, set an alarm and more importantly for me: Track it. The luggage lock is a basic thing nowadays, and to satisfy the Americans, the Airbolt is even TSA approved, for whatever that’s worth.

The lock itself is about the same size as your normal travel lock, weighing in at just 60grams but it’s got a heap of smarts inside, including an alarm with speaker, Bluetooth 4.2, LED light, a battery that lasts up to a year and charges via a simple microUSB port and it’s tough, housed inside a die-cast Zinc body with a combination pad you can use to open the lock if you lose your phone.

There’s 40 days to go before the campaign ends, but it looks pretty set to make its target, and if it does, you can expect delivery around August next year (remember this is Kickstarter – No guarantees). There is a stretch goal at $300,000 of an Android Wear app which would be handy, but the app for your phone should be enough for the time being and an SDK is being released so an Android Wear app may come anyway.

If you’re interested in Airbolt, head over to their website, or if you’re sold and want to back them, then head over to Airbolt’s Kickstarter campaign page to throw money at them.

Source: AirboltAirbolt Kickstarter.
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    kickstarter….. nope….. call when its REALLY shipping and they have a few more answers on like how a bluetooth device is ‘tracked’ via the crowd source method.


    Absolutely no details about their GPS crowd source tracking method, whether it will rely on nearby Airbolts, or nearby GPS enabled phones, etc.

    I want to be able to turn this into a necklace for my teenage daughter, and detect whether it is indeed on her neck or whether she has chained it to our dog so she could sneak out on a tinder date with a middle aged sugardaddy.


    I’m extremely wary of crowd-sourced GPS systems. Seems like they’ll only work where enough people have invested in them. I wasted a lot of money on some trackers that used that method.


    I’m dubious about the ability to do meaningful tracking – they mention crowd-sourcing the data, but since the device is bluetooth only, I suspect that crowdsourced data relies on people having their app installed and being in moderately close proximity to the device when a poll occurs.

    And yeah, the whole TSA key thing sucks (but is entirely unsurprising), it’s a catch-22. I guess you can go back to having your bag/lock destroyed by over-zealous TSA employees by adding some super-glue.


    Guessing other ‘airbolt’ users with the app running can see all the aitbolt bluetooth devices at their location and report back the tags rough location?


    If it’s reliant on Airbolt alone, and Airbolt isn’t widespread, then it won’t work.

    However, it may just be viable if it piggybacks off competing products and other smart devices.


    Hi guys, It’s AirBolt here. In terms of the Crowd GPS network it is pretty much @level380:disqus said however, we do not plan to create a AirBolt Propriety System meaning that we’ll be working in partnership with other smart device manufacturers. Furthermore, we are one of the first few to use Bluetooth 4.2 which allows users to connect to the internet via a router or an access point that supports 6LoWPAN over BLE. We will also be working on MESH networking. The cost to incorporate this technology is more, but we did it because we know it’ll be worth it.… Read more »


    Thanks for the update!! Great post. Handy to know how it works. Be nice if there was some semi standard to get a Bluetooth receiver/router in most airports that will work with all these types of tags from many different vendors for location reporting etc.


    Ah, so exactly as I thought, if you’re in a low tech-uptake space or a low population density space, no GPS tracking. If it integrated with airport luggage handling systems, it might be worthwhile.