Bringing An IWallet Back To Life


The iWallet is a slick little device if you’ve got a big wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket. The $600 price tag was a little much for [cmw] to swallow, so he bought a water damaged iWallet on eBay with hopes of repairing it. Once took a close look, he knew that repairing it was a lost cause, so he decided to hack it instead.

He pulled out most of the wallet’s electronics save for the motor that opens the device, and replaced the damaged parts with his own. He installed an Arduino pro as well as a Bluetooth module, powering the pair with a small rechargeable LiPo battery. The iWallet’s fingerprint reader was then replaced with a series of LEDs that show the device’s Bluetooth connectivity status.

[cmw] can now connect his wallet to his phone, issuing unlock commands via Bluetooth. If you don’t want to fork out the cash, his version is nearly as good as the real thing.

Continue reading to see a quick video of [cmw’s] iWallet hack in action.


43 thoughts on “Bringing An IWallet Back To Life

  1. The wallet itself is a pretty pointless device, as it could be opened readily by anyone with, say, a large sledge or a bandsaw…. so maybe it keeps your kids from nipping a $20, but keeping the contents safe if stolen? yeah right…

  2. It seems like any kind of storage device (whether it be keeping valuable physical items or data) can be opened or accessed if stolen, because then the thief can do practically anything to it.

    At that point the only thing you control is the time they have, based on your ability to track them down. (well, maybe more control if it has remote self-destruction)

  3. I’d just put in some cryptographic chip to protect my bitcoin wallet and credit card numbers :-) also hardware pin entry keyboard would be usefull in addition to fingerprint scanner.

    swipe finger, then enter pin and you can see your credit card number on hardware display and challenge the device for decrypting your bitcoins over usb :-)

  4. @???? Yeah, THAT wouldn’t land you in prison!

    Well, maybe not if you don’t live in the USA. Here we are kinda required to be good little victims. If we fight back and win, we usually get the prison time.

  5. @Retroplayer Yes, because blowing people is a crime, the government wants us to be victimized. Clearly someone stealing your wallet should be reason enough to blow their hands/face off with explosives with no legal consequences.

    If you want to protect yourself? Don’t carry cash. Use a debit card instead. If your wallet is stolen, call any debit/credit cards in as stolen, and get new ones. Then it goes from being any significant loss to being a mere inconvenience.

    And no, the government doesn’t insist that you be a victim. Most states have a process that allows you to carry a concealed firearm in public legally. I’ve taken advantage of this. You can too, if you like.

  6. the low-yield explosive would definitely destroy w/e is inside and cause minor injury to the thief. Then you don’t really have to worry about your stuff being copied to some database.

  7. Actually, if someone steals someone else’s wallet, I don’t particularly care whether they get their fingers singed — or amputated outright, for that matter — trying to get the goods out of it. There’s a very simple trick to avoiding injuries caused by someone else’s active-response wallet, and that is not to steal someone else’s active-response wallet. Surely this is not that difficult to figure out. (If you think such a vigorous response disproportionate, then let’s moderate the question a bit. What if I sew a razor blade into my wallet instead, in just the right spot to slash a careless filcher’s fingers? Have I now committed aggravated assault against the fucker who stole my wallet?)

    On the other hand, I do hail from the state with the nation’s broadest castle doctrine, so I appreciate that my ideas regarding the nature of consequences — that being, if you do shit you know you shouldn’t and you get hurt by it, don’t come crying to me — are severely out of fashion among the secular Quakers who run shit.

    And on the third hand, a $600 motorized wallet is just fuckin’ stupid, I don’t even care what else you say about it. But I bet the guy down my street, who has eight (count ’em) security cameras covering the two rather narrow approaches to his house, either already owns one or he’s saving up his pennies.

  8. And hey, BobSmith, I like your argument about disproportionate response in light of your recommendation to investigate concealed carry.

    You know, because shooting somebody dead is SO MUCH BETTER than messing up his hands and maybe his face with a few grams of something that goes bang. That makes sense.

  9. (And don’t talk to me about muggers, either, because it’s a bullshit argument. Guy takes your wallet at gunpoint, can’t get the wallet open — what, you think he’s gonna shrug and walk away?)

  10. Nice job with the rebuild, I wonder if it would be possible to do a version that pairs to a wristwatch such as the TI Chronos.

    Price wise the iWallet is pretty ridiculous, my ripper wallet cost me £3.50, in the mid 80s at a Glastonbury festival, the festival isn’t what it used to be but the wallet still is, no real signs of wear & tear even with the regular use it now gets.

    The iWallet looks like a nice gadget to own, but not entirely practical especially with that price tag and the need for it to be charged up every so often, couple that with the enivtable hammer + chisel opening technique by thieves.

  11. Well why not add some GPS device, when it gets stolen you can track it. Never mind … the delay time to get inside won’t give you time to hop in your car for the chase.

  12. No, bobsmith, it’s because if you EVER use that firearm you proclaim to carry to shoot someone, EVER, even in defense… you will go to prison in this country at the very least for involuntary manslaughter or intent to kill. Period. Any other idea in your head, is simply that – in your head.

    Probably because of the people, people like you vote for.

  13. Retroplayer:

    False. A number of states have clear, well-defined legislation regarding self defense, and many of this legislation is fairly reasonable.

    While using a firearm in self-defense will be a legal headache (not to mention the inevitable civil lawsuits from the crud’s family), many people defend themselves every year without going to prison.

  14. It’s definitely a cool build, though I don’t see the point :-)

    @BobSmith, I live in one of the bluest states in the country and even here I will NOT go to jail for shooting someone with a firearm that I legally own as long as it is clearly self-defense.

    That said, the burden of being CERTAIN you are acting in self defense is so high that you would probably be killed by your attacker because they are exposing a similar firearm and are in your home (or in some other way threatening you). If you’re in a public space I’d say you might be held until the facts are clear. So yeah, killing someone is taken very seriously, as it should be.

  15. @BobSmith
    “And no, the government doesn’t insist that you be a victim. Most states have a process that allows you to carry a concealed firearm in public legally.”

    what? by most states you mean couple deserted places that no one remember about, in NY they fuck you up for having a pocket knife as for gun it literally impossible to get legally one

  16. Therian:

    Hah. Firearms are by no means illegal in the great state of New York. Carry permits are scarce, as in New Jersey. The vast majority of states have a process for carry, either concealed or open. It’s possible for your average person to legally carry concealed in a great number of states if they possess a Utah permit, which is available to non-residents.

  17. haha i love the conversation path here. The wallet was really just a cool conversation starter. The batt actually lasts about 3-4 days without charge. The funny thing is I accidently locked myself out when testing and all it took was 5 seconds and a knife to pop the lock open. It didnt even damage it.. So no hammers required :)

  18. @Aaron – “What if I sew a razor blade into my wallet instead, in just the right spot to slash a careless filcher’s fingers? Have I now committed aggravated assault against the fucker who stole my wallet?)” — good job on mutilating the medical worker who’s trying to get contact details for your family when your unconcious body is in their hospital after some accident.

  19. loans… nothing is “clear and defined.” You go before a jury, period. As far as home invasion, did you try to escape? Did you take every step possible not to have a deadly confrontation? Did you try to hide from the attacker first?

    You will likely go to jail. You will get out on bond. Then you might be held again before trial. MAYBE, just MAYBE, your state appointed attorney (if he really feels like caring that day – he gets paid either way) is better than the prosecution in convincing the jury that you tried everything (including trying to get the perpetrator quick medical attention in an attempt to save his life.) Oh… did you try to call the police before you shot the perp?

    Do you even read the news? I love how “legal experts” all think their opinions are law. “Bullshit, talking on the phone while driving isn’t illegal because I do it all the time.”

    Hate to bust your bubble, but what you think happens by millions of people every day (what a ridiculous statement on its own) just isn’t reality and isn’t how that fairy tale plays out.

    I know from experience what happens. What do you have? An opinion supported by what you believe to be just and fair (which I do not argue with at all as far as the just and fair part), and ridiculous statements not supported at all in any statistics.

    I bet you also believe that the phrase “innoncent until proven guilty” can be found in a government document somewhere other than possibly an opinion piece. In fact, I bet you are so sure of it that you will search right now to prove it is. Good luck.

    Pay attention, people. You fall asleep, you might wake up to a nightmare.

  20. @therain

    I agree 100% with that. I would never try to convince somebody not to defend themselves or their family, no matter the consequences.

    Mine was more of a political statement that so many have this fairy tale view of ‘freedom’ in this country, just take it for granted, meanwhile it gets eroded away more and more while they sleep.

    I would say one of the reasons that crime is so high in this country because of the fear of the consequences for defending oneself. Criminals don’t follow the law, but it is very convenient for them that you and I do. Makes their job so much easier. And year after year, more laws or ‘public perception’ leading to the successful passing of more laws are created that re-enforce that. That’s how guns get banned. It’s really NOT as far off as some sleeping beauties might think.

  21. @Retroplayer

    “As far as home invasion, did you try to escape? Did you take every step possible not to have a deadly confrontation? Did you try to hide from the attacker first?”

    In Indiana, the legal code is clear. There is no duty to retreat before using lethal force to repel a forcible invasion into one’s home, or to prevent an assault when one has a legitimate fear of death or serious bodily harm. (IC 35-41-3-2)

    “You will likely go to jail.”

    It’s a probably. I acknowledged that any self-defense shooting (or self-defense in general) is a legal headache.

    “Oh… did you try to call the police before you shot the perp?”

    Again, there’s no duty to retreat. What’s important is that you’re the first one to call the police.

    I understand your point. I also acknowledge that unfortunately, our legal system does not always reflect what’s right, fair or even just. That said, the law, in my home state, is clear (despite your insistence otherwise) on the nature of self defense. If you glance at the noted piece of Indiana, law, you can’t argue with that.

    The fact of the matter is, the general opinion of this country is that the citizen doesn’t (it would seem) have the right to defend himself. States make it impossible for their residents to carry a firearm (I’m looking at you, east coast), or do not provide clear legal protections for a man defending his home and family from violent crime. Many police officers are uneducated on the rights of citizens in their jurisdictions to carry a firearm. Many a tale can be recounted of a law-abiding citizen being needlessly hassled, man-handled, and insulted by people who should -applaud- the citizen who chooses to protect himself.

    It’s a sad state of affairs, but when my work doesn’t take me to states where rights are infringed, (Massachusetts now) I carry every day, and I understand my rights and (more importantly) my responsibilities.

  22. abobymouse, my driver’s license is right there in a clear plastic sleeve as soon as you open the wallet, and right behind it is the card with the “here’s who to call if you’ve just scraped my smoking corpse off the side of the highway” info. The razor blade, if any, would be in the billfold pocket, where the money goes. Nice try tho.

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