A new device to help people stick to their budgets has made quite an impression on the Internet, and frankly, it's rather bizarre.
Living Wallet is a Japanese product — granted, one that the website claims has no actual plans for public distribution — designed to help the frugally challenged avoid overspending by placing the burden of this responsibility on the wallet itself.
“Saving is an everlasting challenge for mankind,” the product's website reads. “We decided that the problem may lie in wallets that easily allow people to unfold and use it.”
The wallet, which would be inconspicuous were it not for the wheels attached at each corner, has two basic “modes.”
The first mode is aimed at saving money. The wallet has three functions in this mode, the first being what the website calls “Evasion.” This is triggered by the wallet’s recognition that its owner has a lack of funds, and the wallet knows this because it connects to its owner’s bank account through an app called Zaim. While in this mode, the wallet “runs away” from any hand that tries to reach for it, scooting itself across a table or floor with the aid of its four wheels.
If the wallet is captured, however, it enters the second phase, “Asking for help.” During this phase, the wallet will actually scream for help as the would-be shopaholic opens it up to dig for cash.
If the terrorized shrieks aren't discouraging enough, the wallet enters what is called the “Last resort” phase. “If you still try to use some money,” the website description reads, “the wallet sends a text message to your parents asking for help.”
The video also makes it clear that the wallet may resort to actually making a phone call to a parent, if necessary.
When the wallet recognizes a surplus of cash, however, it enters another mode called “Consumption.” Once this kicks in, the Living Wallet begins to encourage spending money. To make shopping decisions easier, it starts spouting Amazon’s popular product rankings as it inches its way toward the owner.
“We think you should consume for the economy,” the website says.
Despite the product’s disclaimer that it is a prototype and there are “no plans for public distribution,” the video has gone viral, attracting the attention of The New York Daily News, MSN, The Washington Post and plenty of other news outlets.
We’ll just have to wait and see how much longer the “no plans for public distribution” actually lasts.