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Monday, April 15, 2024

Protect your bike

A new device is poised to revolutionize the way people think about bicycle security. LOCK8, an induction-charged, keyless, alarm-secured, GPS-tracking bike lock is the first smart bike lock with sharing capabilities.

Two Oxford students, Franz Salzmann and Daniel Zajarias-Fainsod, developed LOCK8 after having both of their bikes stolen in a two-day time span.

“LOCK8 is the first integral solution for bike sharing,” Zajarias-Fainsod said. “Not only do we provide a powerful and user-friendly app, but also cutting-edge hardware that actually lets you communicate with your or someone else’s bike.”

LOCK8 features both Bluetooth and GSM communication, which means that a phone can connect to your LOCK8-equipped bicycle from a few feet or from the other side of the world. With the LOCK8 device and app, users can offer their own bikes to rent, or if you need a bicycle but don’t own one or it’s not near, you can use the LOCK8 app to rent one.

LOCK8 could provide a low-cost solution that requires little to no infrastructure when creating bike-sharing networks. The induction-charged device produces and stores power that is generated magnetically when the bike is in motion and therefore eliminates the need for an unsightly, expensive docking station.

The innovative design employs multiple sensors in the cable and the small base that attaches directly to the frame. If someone tries to use a bolt cutter, a saw, a drill or a hammer, or even if they try to freeze it or burn it off with a blowtorch, the LOCK8 will set off a 120-decibel alarm and send a notification to your smartphone. If the “painfully loud” alarm does not deter the thief, some might say that he earned it, but you will still be able to track the bike from your phone (preferably with police assistance) via the built-in GPS.

Because the LOCK8 also senses vibrations and other such movements, it can also prevent partial thefts, like the seat or wheels being stolen.

Preorders on Kickstarter began last week at the introductory price around $110. Since their launch on Kickstarter last Monday, LOCK8 has received ample support, but they are still 40 percent away from the production target with four weeks to go.

LOCK8 is compatible with 95 percent of bikes, and the app is currently available for iPhone 4S or later and will soon be coming to Android 4.3+ devices with Bluetooth 4.0.

Although the likely retail price is $150 — a little on the expensive side for the average student — the price will probably start to drop if/when it is put into mass production.

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