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Now, 'smart' wallets that shrink when low on cash!

December 7, 2010 - London

Now, buy yourself a 'smart' wallet that can control how much you spend this season.he set contains three wallets, which bear different characteristics to tell you when you have to stop shopping.

One of these physically shrinks when your bank balance is low in an effort to discourage your from spending, another has a hinge, which becomes tighter to open when you have less money whereas the last one vibrates every single time you use it.

All three wallets have a tiny computer inside them and use a Bluetooth connection to the individual's mobile phone, which then connects to the Internet and their bank account information.

This means that the wallet is constantly updated with how much money the user has in their account, and can act accordingly.

The idea behind all three is that we need to remind ourselves each time we spend our hard-earned money, rather than just swiping a credit card and forgetting about it.

Product designer John Kestner, who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, developed the wallets.

They are currently at the prototype stage but, should banks or consumers take an interest, the designs could be put into mass production, he said.

The Mother Bear wallet, so named because it is protective of the money inside it, is designed to encourage saving and has a hinge that gets harder and harder to open the lower the bank balance.

The Peacock wallet grows and shrinks depending on how much money its owner have.

The Bumblebee meanwhile has a tiny vibrating motor inside it, which buzzes when a bank transaction takes place, be it an Internet purchase or using a credit card at a shop.

The bigger the transaction, the longer the buzz giving those who use it a physical reminder of how much they are spending.

On his blog Kestner wrote that the Proverbial Wallets were designed to rekindle our 'visceral connection' with money, which we have left behind.

"We have trouble controlling our consumer impulses, and there's a gap between our decision and the consequences. This gap has widened as our physical money becomes virtual. When we're shopping, do we know what our bank account balance is, or whether we're over budget for the month? Our existing senses are inadequate to warn us," the Daily Mail quoted Kestner as writing on his blog.

"The Proverbial Wallet gives us that financial sense at the point of purchase by un-abstracting virtual assets," Kestner added.

Kestner said that he is working on a slimmed-down version of the devices which is credit card shaped and could fit into any wallet.

"We want to make it as economical as possible - it would be rather ironic if we charged a fortune for something that is supposed to save you money," he concluded.


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