bitlock MINI

Bitlock Mini smartlock in black surrounded by the homehub brand cirlce with the white colorway behind it
Client

bitkey inc.

Year

2021

Disciplines

Product Design/ Industrial Design/ Package Design

Grand ambitions packed into a tiny silhouette

Project Overview

Envisioning a product with the mission to set things straight and wow the skeptics

In the early stages of the project, the bitlock MINI and PRO were the same product. However, as specifications crystalized and hardware restrains in size, features, and eventually cost became more apparent, we were forced to split the product into two different series, each addressing a different market with different budgets and needs.


Conceptually, the bitlock MINI was positioned as the direct successor to the crowdfunded bitlock LITE released a year earlier, Bitkey's leading product for the consumer-focused market. Like the original bitlock PRO, the bitlock LITE was one of the first products to be released by the young startup, during a period of little funding and with very negative reviews. Especially those who supported the device during the crowdfunding campaign were among those disappointed most.


With the bitlock MINI, the mission was clear: first, design a product that will win back the sympathy of those who supported the original product. Second, wow shareholders, possible investors, and competitors with how much we grew our expertise as a young tech startup within a single year.

A woman opening a wooden door with a smile while the bitlock MINI is attached to it on the inside
A white bitlock MINI attached to a dark wooden door
A black bitlock MINI attached to a beige wooden door
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Project Design

Designing a product that is as little design as possible

From the beginning, the bitlock LITE was conceived as an homage to its predecessor. The cute aesthetics of the pill-shaped smart lock with the big knob, although quite common, was something we decided had to be preserved, especially considering that the MINI was a consumer-focused product. Once the initial estimates by our hardware engineers suggested a 20% decrease in size compared to the previous generation, the 'baby bitlock' concept started to take shape.

Baby bitlock was all about making the device look smaller. That meant using all sorts of visual cues that suggested smallness like soft tapers, fillets here and there, and the biggest of them all: removing the industry-standard deadbolt plate behind the knob. With a mere 0.5mm gap between the faceplate and the deadbolt knob, the knob appears to be floating, even when turning. As one of the biggest challenges to our engineers, this innovative design gives the bitlock MINI a wholly unique aesthetic, unrivaled and unmatched in the entire industry.

‍The design of the bitlock MINI represents the development of Bitkey as a whole. What started as a cute and somewhat dysfunctional device grew into a mature, innovative, simple, and sophisticated product that understands the market it is serving. Designed to be stealthy, discreet, and minimalist, the bitlock MINI is as little design as possible.

Size comparison between the bitlock lite and bitlock mini
Details of the bitlock mini design focusing on the absence of the deadbolt backplate
UI Animations of the setup process for the bitlock MINI
Package renders of the bitlock MINI in white and black
The bitlock MINI with its components depicted in an exploded view
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Project Credits
Hardware Supervisor
Fujiyama Yuusuke

Project Lead
Ejiri Yuuki

Design Consultant
Akanuma Momoo