MIT Media Lab x Information Ecology Group Develop the Proverbial Wallet: the Wallet with Money on the Mind

Written by  Pinstripe Magazine
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Doesn’t everyone quietly wish that there was a little person living inside their wallets to tell them how much they could stand to spend or, alternatively, tell them to stop swiping their cards altogether. The geniuses at MIT Media Lab are working on the miniature Adriana Lima and Scarlet Johansson bit (and if they aren’t, they should be), but in the meantime, the Information Ecology group there has developed three prototypes of the Proverbial Wallet.

In an age when mindless swiping of credit cards has millions in debt, the makers of the Proverbial Wallet figured it was time to bring back tactile feedback to spending. Using Bluetooth technology, these three prototypes tell you in three varying ways how your bank account is doing. “Tactile feedback reflecting our personal balances and transactions helps us develop a subconscious financial sense that guides responsible decisions,” say its creators. “In addition to providing a visceral connection to our virtual money, tactile output keeps personal information private and ambient.”

Note: You could also take your smart phone and check up your bank account on the spot, or you could alternatively spend the money you would spend on a Proverbial Wallet on getting a smart phone which could accomplish thousands of more tasks than just weighing your bank account, but these gadgets are still worth ooh-ing and ahh-ing at.


This wallet buzzes via a vibrating motor whenever your bank account processes a transaction. The inconvenience of this one is a little obvious: having something buzzing in your back pocket can be decidedly uncomfortable and awkward in social situations, and it can also be unnerving: you don’t know if a transaction you made over the weekend is simply going through this Monday afternoon or if your identity has been stolen and you’re being warned of fraud. Again, a smartphone wins this battle.


This one is just amusing. The wallet swells and shrinks according to your account balance. It can be either a) a depressing reminder or b) hard to fit in your back pocket.

Wallet-hingeMother Bear

Your mother doesn’t hound you anymore with your allowance (at least, we hope), but you can count on Mother Bear to resist opening when your funds are a little tight. You can still open it (the resistance is programmable to any budget goals you might have), so it’s non-intrusive enough to only be a quiet reminder for you to cool it with the shopping.

Contributing Writer:
Maria Rainier
Resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online kinesiology degrees.


2 Responses to MIT Media Lab x Information Ecology Group Develop the Proverbial Wallet: the Wallet with Money on the Mind

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