Software Development

This ‘smart’ coin jar responds when you put money in it

It also accepts Apple Pay. Richard Rutenberg built the prototype after more than 30 classes at NextFab.

Want to be featured in our new Maker Monday series? Send us a photo of what you made and a short description of how and why you made it.


Richard Rutenberg designed an Arduino- and Bluetooth-powered coin jar that does stuff when you feed it change. It can also read employee badges, accept Apple Pay, light up and play sound.

What would you do with it?

Some of Rutenberg’s ideas include using it to accept Apple Pay for a bake sale, using it as a jukebox where employees scan their badges and drop a coin to play their own Pandora station or using the stereo sound to make it “thank” someone for donating money.

Rutenberg is raising $65,000 to bring “Coin-Jar” to market. As of this writing, he’s raised nearly $2,500.

Support by Jan. 30

Rutenberg, 49, of Italian Market, took more than 30 courses at Washington Avenue’s NextFab makerspace to develop the coin jar. A former Cisco Systems employee, he believes mobile wallets will catch on fast. He hopes that his Coin-Jar can be a way for those who use Apple Pay and other digital payments to give to charity.

“In the future the people who write checks will be very few,” he wrote in an email. “The next generation will have never lived without being able to pay with a smart phone.”

He plans to release the schematics so that others can 3D-print their own.

Companies: NextFab

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


Cal Ripken Jr. essay: The MLB legend explains his drive to build STEM centers in schools across the nation

How 3 local orgs help founders and entrepreneurs build their networks

Hopeworks to double Kensington student base with $1 million expansion in Philly

The end of software as technology

Technically Media