back to article Smart fingerprint padlock startup to $320k backers: Sorry for the radio silence

TappLock, a startup promising the "world's first smart fingerprint padlock" has claimed that issues with manufacturing in China were behind the months of silence which provoked aggrieved backers to contact The Register, fearing fraud. The padlock business had managed to raise over $320,000 on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo …

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    Just because your manufacturing is having delays, this doesn't affect your PR department or social media guy from saying "We're having delays, we're working as hard as we can to fix it".

    Smells like bullshine.

    1. jason 7

      Indeed, no concept of Project Management.

      We all know cock ups and delays can happen, especially when you have to rely on other suppliers and third parties that may not be as committed as you.

      So just going quiet is inexcusable and raises alarm and suspicion.

      It only takes a minute or two to say -

      "Sorry guys but one of our suppliers has caused a delay so we wont be progressing as planned. Will let you know as soon as things are back in plan!"


      "Sorry guys but one of the shipments didn't come up to spec on the QA side so we've had to order in a fresh batch! Hopefully back up to speed in a week or two!"

      Now that didn't hurt did it?!

      Keep your backers and investors informed. Silence just makes it look like you ran off with the money.

      1. DropBear

        Re: Indeed, no concept of Project Management.

        "So just going quiet is inexcusable and raises alarm and suspicion."

        Agreed. And yet, that is exactly what happens, time and again, at the first sign of trouble, with any crowd-funded project, large or small: they just go f#$%$%ing silent. Yes, there are laudable exceptions, but this behavior is so universal they hardly count. Even though in my experience backers demonstrate astonishing amounts of good will any project with issues but ongoing communication, somehow it seem the "hit and run" reflex is just too strong and universal: "if anything goes wrong, pretend it didn't and just hide"...

  2. Sampler

    Roll the dice

    I'm quite amazed how people who back these indegogo and kickstarter campaigns act like they've bought something.

    You've not, you've paid to maybe have something, at some time, similar to what's being claimed.

    You're backing an unbuilt, often at times even unprototyped, product, you're giving them the money to see if it's possible, it isn't always, and you should be prepared to never see that money again.

    I mean, I've done this, it worked out with Elite:Dangerous, ended up being a fun game and not all that much of a wait. Explosms Joking Hazard rolled out quickly and wasn't a disappointment, even when playing with friends who've as yet unheard of Cyanide & Happiness. (their Season1 animated series also worked out well).

    I've had not so great experiences too, my COBI bike light took forever to turn up and I'm only just now getting some launch promised features through app updates, and it's a little buggy, but hey, still like the idea and the discount over the retail price, I don't mind being a guinea pig, it's what I signed up for.

    The Pine64 it probably my only "bad" experience, and only because by the time they'd shipped it I'd had a Pi3 for two months with made the device obsolete. Am I pissed? Not really, I handed over the money knowing full well I could not get anything back, so, the shiny paperweight on my desk isn't so bad.

    And anyway, who the hell wants a bio-metric lock? A cheap one at that, few years back I used the fingerprint scanner on my HP tx2050ea tablet thingy (when tablets were laptops with swivelly screens) and thought it was ace, until it logged me into my girlfriends account as seemingly the hash it made of my thumbprint on that occasion was close enough to resemble my girlfriends stored hash (for the record, a casual glance of our thumbs would say they're nothing alike).

    I doubt cheap Chinese chips these days are much better, but then, they probably use the same locking mechanism as most padlocks and can be overcome with a coke can.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Roll the dice

      Exactly. You are a backer of the product, not a purchaser.

      I backed the TingBot case/screen for the Pi because I thought it a good idea that I *may* have a use for in the future. It was delayed considerably (but at least they stayed in communication). Must get a Pi 3 to put in it (The Pi 2 is mounted under a model railway and it doesn't take the Pi 1).

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Looking at that lock design...

    ...I'd give it 10 seconds max before a thief forces it open.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Looking at that lock design...

      It does look weak, but many of the most popular padlocks have youtube videos showing how to hack them anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looking at that lock design...

      With a gummi bear...

  4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Wait & see...

    If they're that inept at designing something so that it can be manufactured, I wonder what their security design and test process is like...

    Will this be another "biometrics" device that can be unlocked with a fingerprint taken off a button using some adhesive tape?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait & see...

      > If they're that inept at designing something so that it can be manufactured, I wonder what their security design and test process is like...

      They originally designed the lock to be secure. But then the manufacturer said they couldn't build it. So they've redesigned it to be buildable ... but it's no longer secure.

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Sounds like a crap product to start with ..

    quite aside from the amateur "our prototype wasn't compatible with the real world" excuse.

    If these ever see the light of day, I suggest they are not sold in the same shop as Gummi Bears

    Or are these startups so fresh they forget 15-year old research ?

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like a crap product to start with ..

      I can just see the advertising slogan now:-

      The lock where you leave your key on everything you touch.

  6. Dave 126 Silver badge

    It really shouldn't have glossy finish, since it might retain the owner's fingerprints.

    I don't know why they used an Industrial Designer, and not a Product Designer (which is a more integrated role that considers the eventual manufacture throughout the design process, as well as function and appearance etc). Really, it doesn't need to look different to a conventional padlock, and by drawing attention to itself it will only encourage kids to smash the sensor with a rock.

  7. Frank Bitterlich
    Thumb Down

    Does not compute...

    The statements they made do not add up.

    First, manufacturing delays do not justify lack of communication, as some on this thread have already noticed.

    And then, " their handmade prototype was not compatible with the manufacturing procedures in Shenzhen, and the mechanical and industrial design of the padlocks had to be recreated." That translates to: "We 'invented' something without checking if it can actually be built, and then we had to re-invent the whole thing."

    I just invented something: A set of goggles that convert any 2-D film to 3-D. How that is supposed to work? Don't know, that's for the nerds to figure out. But please fund me anyway.

    Being a "startup" does not justify having no clue about the business you try to enter. And being a "maker" does not mean you can create, manufacture and market a technical product.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it has shed staff

    ... it has shed staff and sent its entire engineering team to Shenzhen to watch over the manufacturing process

    Not bad for an excuse. Buys another couple of weeks to tie loose ends before the suckers start doing something more than writing angry facebook posts.

    That said, life's real harsh if you want to be a sucker at the forefront of cutting edge tech. All those opportunities to invest hard-won savings, impress your friends... gone?!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lasts 3 years on a single charge... hmmm I'll believe that when I see it :D

  10. Lee D Silver badge

    Fingerprint as auth?

    "Here, just leave an impression of your key on this panel and every surface near it, in to open it."


    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      I think you've just won the internet with that observation. Here, have a pint.

      Wear some gloves though!

  11. Anonymous IV

    Perhaps they had heard about this research?

    Peace sign selfies could let hackers copy your fingerprints.

    "Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Informatics have found that fingerprints can be easily recreated from photos taken up to three metres away without the need for advanced technology. So long as the picture is clear and well-lit, prints can be mimicked."

  12. inmypjs Silver badge

    Anyone funding..

    anything on Indiegogo is an idiot. Sadly the world is full of idiots.

    You can look at backers of stupid campaigns and see what else they backed - quite enlightening. I found this one yesterday

    "Heat your room for 10 cents a day!"

    $55 for a bit of bent wire and two bits of pot which are claimed (and I shit you not) to be a effective, economic, and environmentally sound room heater powered by candles. The campaign found 5000 idiots to give it $262k.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone funding..

      A fool and his money.... :/

    2. Notas Badoff

      Re: Anyone funding..

      ... will warm a 20mq ("metro quadro" == "square meter") by 2 to 3 degrees in one half-hour. And will 'warm' for 5 hours. That's all I can find about "how much" heating it does.

      *Remarkably* meagre on the details of how much warmth you can get out of the thing. Like, after two hours how much warmer will the room be? Absent the owner shuffling about in coat/gloves/hat and energetically muttering "why am I still freezing?" which will likely warm the room much more than one of these.

      Buy a 10-pack!

  13. 080

    Looks pretty easy to open

    After extensive visiting remote sites and having the wrong key this lock looks pretty easy to me. First choice would be a whack with a 11/2lb hammer just above the little green light, next a nip of the stainless hasp with a 24" bolt cropper or otherwise cut it off with a battery angle grinder, all standard tools.

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