An unassuming wooden block can connect most smartphones to WiFi without needing a password.
Designed by small New Jersey-based startup Ten One Design, the $40 WiFi Porter works by allowing NFC-capable (near field communication) Android phones and 2018 iPhones to bypass password connection prompts when they are in its vicinity. Non-NFC-equipped phones can still benefit by connecting with a QR code.
"Everyone hates long passwords, but you’d hate them a lot less if you never had to type them," the company says. "WiFi Porter simplifies it all to a simple tap or camera scan."
Ten One Design doesn't usually work with wood, says product designer Peter Skinner. The company, with a staff of just five, produces just a couple of techy products per year.
"This was my first product using wood, so I’ll admit to being a novice in that regard," said Skinner in an email. "I’ve found it to be an unbelievably satisfying material. I'm enamored with how each piece has a unique grain fingerprint - a far cry from the molded plastic and aluminum I generally work with. Wifi Porter is cut from maple by our manufacturing partner in Asia."
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