It happens to everyone: you’re coming home one evening from work and you're searching through your pockets for your house key and you can’t find it. So what do you do? If you live in New York City, you just fire up the KeyMe app on your iPhone, which keeps a digital copy of your key and will deliver a new physical copy to you within one hour.
Of course, you have to think ahead to use the service. You download an app (which, unfortunately, is only available on iOS) or go to a KeyMe kiosk. Using either, you take a photo of your key, which becomes a digital file stored in the cloud. When you get locked out, you tap a button on the KeyMe app and a locksmith creates a new key, which is hand-delivered to you by a real person.
You can also visit a KeyMe kiosk, where a robot locksmith will create a new key for you while you’re waiting. Hand-delivery costs anywhere from $20 for delivery within three hours to $59 for delivery within an hour. Kiosk copies will only run you around $20. Considering that hiring a locksmith generally costs much more and involves a longer waiting time, that’s a real bargain and time-saver.
Hand-delivery services run Monday through Saturday in Manhattan from 10 am to 9 pm. However, kiosks are readily available throughout the city. KeyMe hopes to expand into other cities and markets in the U.S. soon.
What’s amazing about KeyMe is the ability to create a key from something as simple as a photo. And with more people using the service, the algorithms used to make the process even better are improving. Recognizing a key shape from a photo is no simple matter, though, and as KeyMe becomes more popular, expect some botched results. However, in case of complete key failure, KeyMe will offer a full refund, a free set of keys (presumably measured and cut by a human locksmith) and a gift card for Amazon.