Smart Lock

Postgraduate students at Loughborough University have been working with BT, a British multi-national telecommunications company, to become more aware of design within the context of business.

Smart this and smart that...

Loughborough University Design School students have designed a Smart Lock based on amount of user research and experiments aiming to help users interact with their doors more easily.

The Smart Lock enables users, especially the elderly, to unlock the doors conveniently. Instead of finishing kinds of motion, they can have access to their houses while approaching the doors, contributing to an independent life.

Smart Locks are advanced electronic lock systems that are based on the classic front and backdoor lock principle, as seen in most domestic residences.

Here are some significant features of this Smart Lock:

  • Easy access to house using a key with a RFID chip.
  • Easy interaction with guided key hole design.
  • LED prompt of the locking and unlocking process.
  • Multiple and remote access to house.

After collecting user in home access, the users are divided into two groups: primary users which refer to the elderly from 65 to 90 years old and secondly users which refer to family members. For the elderly, the team designed a key embedded with RFID chip for smooth and reassured interaction. For the family members, they have multiple and remote access to the house via a Smart Lock app.

The new Smart Lock has a magnetic keyhole guide for manual override with a conical opening. The colour of yellow attracts the elderly more easily. LED lights are added around the opening to inform the process of locking and unlocking with different colours. The handle is designed as an easy grip so that users can twist it comfortably. The inside part provides manual access. It can also inform users when the key is not in range of if the battery is low.


The whole Smart Lock system consists of BT cloud, wall plug, the key, the lock and mobile devices. The design applies Bluetooth, WIFI, internet and RFID to realise the transformation and sharing of different information. It represents an important feature of the smart home as well.


The Smart Lock is equipped with the GPS key tracker function which can help users to find lost keys easily and pinpoint the location of the primary user for emergencies.

The access monitoring system can record the exact time when the door is locked and unlocked. It can also record which key is used when there are more than one RFID keys used in the house. Family members can retrieve this information supplied from the cloud.


The Smart Lock enables the users to have a confident, worry-free independent life by providing the following:

  • Easy access through the RFID key
  • High usability with the LED interaction prompt and guided key hole design
  • Multiple and remote access