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Sony's smart lock is yet another crowdfunding experiment

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It's probably fair to say that the Sony we once knew and loved is going away as the mega-corporation tries to reinvent itself. Part of that strategy is to go all-in on PlayStation, and another, it seems, is just to get members of the public to do its product testing for it. The company hid its name when crowdfunding an e-paper watch to see how people felt about it, and now it's going back to Makuake, Japan's equivalent to Kickstarter, for another hardware experiment.

This time 'round, the company is working with the World Innovation Lab to create Qrio, a smart lock that lets you open doors with your smartphone. According to the pitch, it's the "world's smallest" device of its type and lets you share access to your home to anyone with the compatible app. The aluminum housing essentially clips over your door's existing furniture, the only DIY required being to stick a plate to the door to keep the batteries in place. The company promises that four CR123A cells will keep the aluminum-hewed hardware going for 1,000 days before you need to run to the store.

Qrio has already met its funding goals, but you can still pick up an early bird deal and save on the planned retail price of around 15,000 yen ($130) plus tax. Of course, those of you with long memories will also remember that this isn't the first time Sony's been involved with a product called Qrio. Back in the day, it was also the name of the company's not-so cuddly robot companion, although we'd have paid good money for a robotic door guard.

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