Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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key chain

automatic keys
  (+8, -2)
(+8, -2)
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would'nt it be cool if you had a key chain of sorts that you could just push a button on it and the key you wanted would pop out secure and rigid. and maybe an automatic light that turns on the moment you push the button.
earlzkman, Jan 26 2002

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       This is a nice idea. The VWs have a folding key, kind of like a switchblade knife, already. Maybe a larger version of that design with several keys contained within it, side-by-side. Each with a corresponding button to actuate the key. I'm imagining the keys would have to be specially made, having only the 'blade' part.   

       Adding a white LED to illuminate the path would be a trivial matter.
bristolz, Jan 27 2002
  

       Folding keys? Really? Aren't mechanical keys on their way out in general in favor of electronic keys? (You push the button, it honks, beeps, blinks, opens, whatever.)   

       Not that this couldn't look cool, but it doesn't seem appropriate technology anymore.
jutta, Jan 27 2002
  

       You know, jutta, You are right. It isn't appropriate technology anymore.
bristolz, Jan 27 2002
  

       So it's a button in the shape of a key. Don't underestimate the nostalgia factor.
phoenix, Jan 27 2002
  

       Personally, I'd prefer a normal key to something electronic. If your battery dies, you're screwed...As an ADJUNCT, it's ok, but as the sole replacement...
StarChaser, Jan 27 2002
  

       Ditto to what Star said, and especially if we're talking about house keys rather than car keys. Lots of us don't drive, but all of us live somewhere (well, most of us, anyhoo), and I've yet to see anywhere other than hotel rooms using electronic locks. I'm sure they're out there, but I'd rather stick with my nice Yale and Mortis locks on my front door, seeing as it's dirt cheap to get duplicate keys, replacement locks and suchlike - as opposed to shelling out stupid amounts of money for some pointlessly over-engineered gadgety lock.   

       Making a new Yale key requires: grindy metal spinning thing, a vice, and some goggles.   

       Making a new Thingmajig key requires: small electronics manufacturing industry, beepy-blinky things to go inside it, correct code / frequency (I dunno how these things work, but ye get the idea), etc., etc..   

       Anyhoo, I think mechanical keys will be with us for a while. When you've only got one door in your house, central locking is hardly your concern. So I could see this invention as one of those Innovations catalogue "what do you get the man who has everything" toys, superfluous and silly but sellable.
Guy Fox, Jan 27 2002
  

       Agree with GuyFox - never undersestimate the power of cheap and simple over expensive and complicated.
Of course, if you did want a universal electronic key, then a mobile phone with a Bluetooth chip would be the perfect answer. It has a SIM card which solely identifies you as the owner. As long as you've got your password secure and the phone manufacturers up the SIM security, it would be fine. And it could be used to unlock your car, your house - anything. Of course, still a problem if you lose your phone or (more likely) the battery runs dead and your charger is in the house...
goff, Jan 28 2002
  

       This being 'some pointlessly over-engineered gadgety lock.' again...
StarChaser, Jan 29 2002
  

       Seems to me that when this idea is compared to many others on this site, it is far too plain and thus innappropriate tech for the halfbakery -practicalities aside. Who needs practical, anyway?
lummox, Jan 29 2002
  

       Exactly the point I was making, Starchaser...
goff, Jan 29 2002
  

       To be honest I don't really trust electronic keys. I don't think I'm being a luddite. It is just not easy to tell how secure they are. If all they do is transmit a code, then it would be trivial to pick this up using a concealed bug. If it changes, then if you lose the key you're screwed... unless the lock has a backdoor, which would in itself be crackable.. Plus there is the battery problem.   

       I think physical keys will be with us for some yet. And I quite like this idea of a Swiss Army key. Less damage to the pockets, for one thing.
Loris, Oct 03 2002
  

       I was hoping that this Idea was for the chain to be the actual key, where you press a certain segment of the key into the lock and it opens the door.
senatorjam, Oct 03 2002
  

       I hope keys, real keys, never become obsolete. I recall keys that were as close to real works of art then some sculpture I have seen. The really ornate intricate ones. I think of them almost as treasures. Also the little bitty ones for jewelry boxes and such, way neat.
blissmiss, Oct 03 2002
  
      
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