Gone are the days when light-handed thieves had to pinch your wallet in order to get at your cash. With the rise of contactless credit and debit cards, sophisticated criminals now use electronic scanners to extract precious data from our cards. With no need for physical contact, you won’t even feel it – it’s a scary thought. A solution, however, is at hand.
Growing up, I was always intrigued by how we make things which is why I followed my passion for product design. I loved to sketch out ideas but was more fascinated by the next phase, which is how to manufacture these ideas and make them a reality.
Following my graduation in product design I embarked on the creative adventure of bringing one of my loose sketches to life, an eco-friendly tent made from recycled plastic and cardboard. It was on this journey that I was nominated as a Fellow of the RSA and introduced to a community of like-minded people working for positive change in society.
I’m now working on bringing my second sketch to market; a new wallet designed to protect you from thieves who use electronic scanners to ‘lift’ your card data from your contactless debit cards, without even touching you.
There are currently a reported 58m contactless cards in circulation and UK householders spent £2.32bn on them last year. These cards have RFID chips (radio frequency identification chips) embedded into them, which hold our card data.
My solution is a sleek looking wallet made out of a single piece of aluminium, which comes with an RFID shield. Aluminium blocks the scanners from extracting your card details, making it safer for you to walk around without being vulnerable to fraud.
For this adventure I am working closely with the RSA as they offer great crowdfunding support through the RSA KickStarter. I decided on crowdfunding for this project as it is a great way of testing the appetite for your idea, raising awareness for your project and of course the necessary funds to make it a reality.
Creativity is a powerful tool we all use every day, and being part of the RSA has helped me realise we all have the power to create, you don’t need a degree in design or a clear understanding of manufacturing processes or production costs, these are hygiene factors, all you need is the idea and the passion to deliver it. Once you have this, the right people and processes will come to you. If you take a moment out of your day and observe the positive things around you it’s amazing to think of the passion and power we have to create and make things better in our lives.
If you have an idea why not use your power to create, make use of your creative assets and embark on the journey, you won’t be alone, I know a few Fellows who will be happy to help.
Finally, if you would like to support me in my latest endeavour, please visit the campaign on RSA Kickstarter
Aral Balkan FRSA
Aral Balkan FRSA argues that if we are to challenge Surveillance Capitalism, we must ultimately alter the character of the technologies we are designing.
Despite having been working on the RSA’s new project around Making for the last 6 months, running events to connect Makers from all levels such as the FutureMaker day back in June and our recent Maker Networking workshops, until last week I had never actually visited a real life ‘Makerspace’.