Eventually, we'll all have electromagnetic forcefield locks to keep our bikes secure, or maybe just really bendy bikes that use themselves (kickstand, seat or pedals) to lock themselves via some strange Escheresque trick of engineering. But a pretty standard rule still in place for today’s world is that locks are accompanied by keys. BitLock does away with this rule completely with a keyless bike lock, now on Kickstarter.
BitLock is a U-lock that can be opened electronically by an iPhone or Android app. With that electronic aspect comes other features, such as a GPS tracker and a fitness tracker that can record miles biked, calories burned, and CO2 emissions avoided. Whoever has admin-like status can grant or revoke access to the lock. Making things even simpler, it all connects via Bluetooth, so you don't even need to have your phone out to open it: proximity works just as well.
Amazingly, the lock’s battery can last for 10,000 operations over at least five years. It uses a lithium thionyl chloride battery, which has the highest energy density of all lithium batteries. These are generally used in devices that don’t really allow for battery replacement (at least, not without it costing more than the device itself).
BitLock is made specifically for the peer-to-peer bike sharing community. The phrase "peer-to-peer" might make you think of Napster or other file-sharing programs, but with bikes, it simply refers to the act of communally using the same bicycle. Some cities, like Washington, D.C., have built-in bike share programs through which you can grab a bike at one location and place it in pre-built locks somewhere else. But for more DIY bike sharing, the lock issue becomes a decidedly bigger problem, which BitLock handily solves.
Early supporters can nab a BitLock for just $79. Check out the demo below.
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