If the movies and TV are to be believed, picking a conventional lock is as easy as sticking a tool into a keyhole, thoughtfully moving it around for a few seconds, then pulling the door open with a crafty smile. While there are special high-security locks that are much harder to pick, they also tend to be quite expensive. That's why Canadian inventor Ryan Bowley created the Bowley Lock – it's claimed to be virtually pick-proof, yet affordable to the average home-owner.
At last week's EICMA bike show in Milan, Italy's Piaggio Group unveiled a new range of technology-packed electric-assist pedal bikes designed to satisfy the needs to today's connected cyclist. The Wi-Bikes come in two classic styles, one designed for comfort and the other aimed at sporty types. All models feature a centrally-positioned motor and battery pack for user selectable assist up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph) and a range of up to 120 km (75 miles), the ability to pair with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone running a companion app, and an always-connected satellite anti-theft system that lets owners know exactly where their ride is at all times.
London is making strides to improve its cycling infrastructure, but still has a lack of safe storage. Eco Cycle is seeking to remedy this. Its automatic machines whisk users bikes into a circular, vertical rack that is secure and dry. Bikes are returned to their owners with the swipe of a card.
Home security cameras can provide a sense of, well, security, but there's something Orwellian about having a lens staring at you like a prop out of an episode of The Prisoner. A more discreet solution is something that doesn't look like a camera and, better yet, combines some other functions to make it more welcome. One example is the Sentri home monitoring system that combines a motion-activated camera with the looks of a digital information center. We powered one up to see what it could do.
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"Smart" bike locks may not quite be at the point where they're a dime a dozen, but there certainly are a number of them out there. That said, pretty much all of them require you to have your smartphone with you, and to make sure it's powered up when locking and unlocking. The Grasp Lock, however, is a little different. It utilizes a built-in fingerprint reader to recognize its user, so no phones, keys or combos are necessary.
If you've ever fancied securing your home with one of those cool invisible sensor webs that you see in movies, now's your chance. The new Xandem Home system detects motion through walls and furniture. It uses a number of nodes that plug into wall outlets and create a wireless web of sensor connections.
Chicago-based startup Salt has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a less-than-lethal weapon designed as an alternative to firearms for home and personal protection. The pneumatic pistol is designed to stop intruders using an incapacitating powder that temporarily blinds them while drastically lessening the possibility of family members being killed in an accident.
Most fingerprint scanners work the same way – the pad of the finger is pressed against the scanner’s glass surface, light is shone through the glass onto it, and the light that’s reflected back by the minuscule valleys between the print’s ridges is used to create an image of the print. It’s a system that’s usually effective, although it can fail to read prints that have been flattened by age or damaged, plus it can be fooled by gelatine casts of fingerprints. That’s why scientists from the Paris-based Langevin Institute have developed a more reliable scanner, that looks below the skin's surface.
Although we've seen a number of bikes with built-in locks lately, the Dutch-made BluLocks bike still manages to bring a fresh approach to the concept. It combines an external chain with a locking mechanism that's located inside the seat tube.