Lock8 shrieks at thieves and tells you where your bike's been taken
By Ben Coxworth
October 28, 2013
With a regular bicycle lock, you secure it to your bike when you park, then just hope that everything will still be intact when you get back. Such is not the case with the bike-mounted Lock8, however. If anyone tries monkeying with it, a high-pitched alarm will sound, and you will be instantly notified on your smartphone. Should the thief proceed to steal the bike, you can use your phone to track its whereabouts.
The main Lock8 unit mounts on the frame adjacent to the left-side rear dropout, using a rubber-coated clamp to protect the bike's paint. An included rubber-sheathed braided steel cable is run through the frame and around a nearby immovable object, the two ends of that cable then inserted into the locking unit. Those ends are locked into the unit not with a key, but instead by using a Bluetooth app on the user's smartphone.
If the user is rushing and forgets to wirelessly activate the lock, it will engage automatically once the paired phone goes out of Bluetooth range. Should the phone's battery die, the lock can still subsequently be disengaged using an included Bluetooth fob.
A weak electrical current is run through the cable, which lets the lock know when the cable is cut and the circuit is broken. Likewise, an onboard accelerometer and gyroscope will detect if the bike is being moved around a lot, and a temperature sensor will pick up on the presence of a cutting torch or liquid nitrogen. In any case, the result will be a piercing audio alarm, and a push notification being sent to the user.
If the bike is taken without the locking unit first being removed, a GPS chip in that unit will allow the user to see where it's being taken. That GPS also lets the user share the location of their parked bike with select trusted people, who may wish to borrow the bike using a digital "key" sent to their phone by the main user.
The Lock8's battery level can be checked on the app, and topped up either via USB, or simply by riding the bike – the system features inductive charging, using spoke-mounted magnets to generate an electrical current as the rear wheel turns.
If some of these features sound at all familiar, it could be because they remind you of the BitLock. It also locks and unlocks by Bluetooth, and allows for multiple people to lock and unlock the bike. The mobilock is another similar product. It is mounted on the frame, utilizes a retractable steel cable, and lets the user track its whereabouts by GPS.
The makers of the Lock8 are currently raising production funds on Kickstarter. A pledge of £69 (about US$111) will get you one, when and if they're ready to go.
More information is available in the pitch video below.