If there's one must-have gadget at CES 2012 that involves almost no digital technology, then Keyport's Slide might be it.
The principle behind the slide is relatively simple. Picture all of your keys without their heads (the wide part that you grip to twist the key) and imagine what's left as "blades" that slide in and out of small metal receptacle much the same way sticks of gum slide out of a pack of gum.
As can be seen in the video embedded below, the Keyport Slide has the capacity for six blades and it's up to the user to decide how to best use that capacity. For example, four of the six slots can be occupied by key blades, one slot can be occupied by a bottle opener and the sixth slot can be occupied by a small LED light, a USB drive, or a reward card (the keyfobs with barcodes on them that are issued by drug and grocery stores).
They Keyport slide can accommodate just about any type of key including Medeco keys or "chipped" security keys. However, each key that involves a chip (used for many luxury cars) takes up two of the Slide's six available slots.
Unless there's a Keyport retailer in your city (there's only a handful around the country), the trickiest part of converting from your old key ring to a Keyport Slide is communicating the information about your existing keys to Keyport.
To do this, you send pictures of your existing keys (taken against the backdrop of a graph-paper like form that you print from Keyport's Web site at MyKeyport.com) and Keyport sends you the appropriate blanks to take to your local locksmith for engraving.
As can be seen in the video, these blanks become the inserts that go into the Keyport Slide and where the head of the key would normally be is a small proprietary part that Downes refers to as "the skull." From there, the rest is pretty easy. Just insert the blades into the Keyport Slide and you're done.
The nice thing about the blades used for the loyalty cards is that you can mount bar codes to both sides of "the blade." In other words, one blade can be used for two loyalty cards.
Each Keyport Slide is engaved with a serial number that's unique to its owner along with information on how to contact KeyPort in the case that someone finds a lost Keyport Slide.