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Wallets know your finances better than you

Can a little vibration in your pocket help control your consumer impulses?

With holiday shopping in full swing, spending can spin out of control faster than an iPhone drops your call (OK, maybe not that fast). But what if your wallet could give you tactile feedback on the status of your bank and credit card accounts with every transaction?

That's the basic concept behind the Proverbial Wallets. They are prototypes done for a project by the Information Ecology group at the MIT Media Lab.

The wallets--called the Bumblebee, Mother Bear, and Peacock--link by Bluetooth to a cell phone and use it to connect to your online accounts. Each wallet has a unique response to the conditions of your finances: the Bumblebee vibrates every time there's a transaction; the Mother Bear gets more difficult to open as you approach your budget limit; and the Peacock gets larger as your account grows.

I think the Bumblebee is probably the best one. Not only because it would let you know about all your transactions, but also when there are unauthorized transactions. It would certainly make me check my accounts more often. The Mother Bear's not a bad idea either, but I'm pretty sure the Peacock would be awkward for everyone involved.

MIT Media Lab