For years fear of theft has deterred many would-be bike commuters from taking the two-wheeled plunge. Securing one’s bike outside work or a restaurant has required big combination chains or hefty D-locks with easy-to-lose keys. But now, right in the middle of National Bike Month, we’ve uncovered an intelligent bike lock that uses mobile technology powered by the sun to secure your bike in the most convenient way possible. Created by ex-Boeing and Jawbone engineers, Skylock promises to revolutionize the way we protect–and share–our bikes at the touch of a button. Keep reading to find out how it works and how you can get your own.
Over 1.5 million bikes are stolen in the U.S. each year, and those are just the reported ones. This statistic makes it clear that traditional bike locks aren’t getting the job done. But the solution is nigh! Skylock is a one-of-a-kind intelligent device that is based on a proprietary dual-locking design – making it twice as safe as a traditional u-lock.
Normally “intelligent” is just another word for a gadget that needs constant charging or battery replacement. Not so with the Skylock. This bike lock is the first to utilize a combined solar panel and rechargeable battery system to virtually eliminate manual charging. According to the designers, just one hour of sunlight provides enough power for a week and a fully charged battery lasts up to a month for average users.
And what’s all that solar power used for, you might ask? For starters, a keyless entry system that allows you to unlock your bike with the accompanying smartphone app. You can also “set it up to have proximity detection, so as soon as you get right up next to it, it unlocks. If your phone dies, you can still unlock it via a combination (pattern) lock on the lock itself,” explains Gizmodo. Skylock also boasts a theft alert system that sends a message to your phone when someone touches your lock for an extended period.
And lest you think that Skylock is only protecting you when your bike is parked, the designers included Bluetooth Low-Energy, Wi-Fi, and an accelerometer to keep you safe while in motion as well. By comparing accelerometer data from a smartphone to its own, Skylock can determine when a rider has been in an accident. “In the event of a severe impact Skylock will send a push notification to see if the rider is ok. If they fail to acknowledge the notification within a set number of seconds, Skylock will automatically determine that the rider is seriously hurt and alert emergency responders so they can come to the rider’s aid as quickly as possible,” explains a press release.
Last but not least, Skylock makes it even easier to lend your bike to friends or to participate in peer-to-peer bike sharing programs like Spinlister. Using the app, Skylock owners can arrange to lend out their bike to anyone in their trusted network or the Skylock community while keeping track of it via the app. Within the Skylock bike community, bike owners can lend their bikes based on prices relative to demand and location.
Are you drooling yet? Good. If you want to be one of the first to wrap a Skylock around your bike, consider pre-ordering through the company’s just-launched crowdfunding campaign. The Skylock will retail for $249 but during the campaign will be offered for a discounted price of $159.
All images via Velo Labs/Skylock