The smartest thing in the world is having lots of money. People like Time Magazine can talk about intelligence and leadership all they want, but you’ll notice that all of their non-gimmick People of the Year can either buy or run countries in their spare time. Inversely, losing money must be the stupidest thing in the world, which is why we have wallets to hold it. And just as a smart person can evaluate your clothes by looking at your shoes, a worn-out wallet will make you look like you stole (or, worse these days, burrowed) the cash inside.
Which is why we’ve found 9 super-smart wallets.
The first way to make something smarter is stuff it with circuitry (at least according to Hollywood cyborg movies).
1. The Illuminating Walit
The Walit combines cool TRON effects with a simple and incredibly useful application. Opening the Walit triggers an internal light, meaning you can always see exactly how much you’re handing over no matter how dark the taxi (or other darkened place you’re counting out untraceable cash). Either way it’s something you want to get right, and often want to do quickly.
2. Proverbial Wallets
The Proverbial Wallets are in development by MIT to help people be smarter about their spending. Bluetooth connections turn financial information into tactile feedback, based on the idea that people aren’t as stupid with cold, hard cash as they are with almost imaginary credit. The Bumblebee buzzes every time your credit card is processed, reminding you that this is real money (and alerting you to fraud), while the Mother Bear’s motorized hinge actively resists opening when you’re over budget for the month. It’ll still let you in, of course, but the resistance reminds you not to be so free with your finances.
3. The iWallet
If the iWallet contained any more hardware it would start demanding a share of your money for services rendered, and also be hunting for John Connor. Built from carbon fiber or steel — so you can choose your own favorite ridiculously tough material — it’s equipped with a biometric thumb lock (a highly advanced piece of personal security that would unfortunately lose to any pick-pockets “bash it with a rock” counter-strategy) and a much more useful Bluetooth distress call should it wander too far from you. But with all this equipment and the resulting $300 price tag, it’s doubtful you’ll have any cash left to put in it.
The second way to improve something is to make it tougher (another thing we learned from Hollywood cyborg movies).
4. Dosh Wallet
The Dosh Wallet boasts a striking alternative style, a funky fresh folding plastic shell fitting in your pocket without any possibility of coins, cards, or subway tokens rolling out to annoy you. It probably won’t fit with the suit-and-tie crowd, but for students and outdoor adventurers it’s a fun match. It’s like someone actually sat down and thought “how would we build these things?” instead of “how do we build them?”
5. Nooka Asset Organizer
The Nooka takes the alternative approach even further, reducing the design to a single flexible pouch for cards and cash. Designed to fit in back pockets and bag compartments, this is for those adventuring outdoors or other places where you might need some emergency credit but won’t be whipping it out every two seconds.
6. Flipside Wallet
The Flipside is another unconventional design, more a clamshell cigar case than a standard cash carrier. The hard shell makes it perfect for those who love the crisp feel of new notes, which at the last check was absolutely everybody. It also boasts RFID protection but unless you’re reading this from your secret agency’s cloaked-flying-black-helicopter base, it’s probably best not to focus on that paranoid element. Instead enjoy the slim style which won’t ruin the line of your suit.
7. Tactical Wallet
The Flipside’s big brother who ran away from home, grew up in the woods fighting bears, and then joined the army. The Swiss Army.
The TMT Tactical Wallet is the manliest, MacGuyveriest wallet we’ve ever seen, making it an ideal birthday present for the man who likes spending spare time in the garage with his tools. But probably only for him. It’s great fun for the outdoors but you’d need to be using those tools regularly to make it worth lugging the immense container around — if you’re only going to need one from time to time it’s easier, and overall means less carrying, if you just go get a toolbox when you need it instead.
Tools including a compass, tweezers, glass-breaker, and hidden compartments in an unusual combination of outdoors, aesthetics, and espionage.
Real recycling is really smart: it’s got a bad rep because a bunch of silly hippies insist it means ugly discomfort as you wipe yourself with molecule-thin strands of reprocessed sandpaper and flush with a thimble of water. Intelligent recycling, or “upcycling,” means looking at all the waste as a resource and asking “what would be awesome?” instead of “how can I get rid of that?”
8. Seat Belt Wallet
One of the best bits of upcycling we’ve ever seen. Wallets experience more erosion than the cliff under a waterfall, except those get more beautiful they more worn they are. The Seat Belt Wallet takes one of the toughest wallet-sized bands of material in existence and refolds it into a stylish and extremely sturdy cloth wallet.
This is the sort of recycling where you don’t have to excuse the appearance as ecological because it’s tough and looks cool.
9. Necktie and Suit
The final entry is the gentleman of the bunch, and it couldn’t be better suited because it’s actually made of suit.
Spare suit material is some of the most spectacularly wasted fabric, initially chosen to be gorgeous but the the whole thing can ruined by a single flaw. Which leaves yards of fabric just waiting for someone to do something, and UncommonGoods finally did.
Image credit: pagadesign / iStockphoto