From propane tanks to bras, sensors are making even the most basic devices in our lives more useful and convenient. The Skylock is a bicycle lock, unveiled Friday, that shows how smart an otherwise bland metal mechanism can become when it’s equipped with the right technology. For starters, the Skylock purports to do much more than protect a bike from thieves – it’s positioned as a smart device with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, accelerometers and solar-powered capabilities. With all that comes a bevy of functionality, including:
- Keyless unlocking (either by pressing a button in the app, proximity or entering a code on the built-in touchpad)
- A battery that needs an hour in the sun to have a week’s worth of power (a fully charged battery will last up to a month)
- Anti-theft alerts sent via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to the owner’s phone whenever the bike is disturbed
- Automatic accident notifications to summon emergency responders (the Skylock app looks for disparities between a cyclist’s smartphone motion data and the Skylock’s data to detect a crash, and cyclists can dismiss the notification if they’re OK)
Maybe the most intriguing wrinkle added by Velo Labs, the company behind the feature-packed bike lock, is the ability for Skylock owners to share their bike with anyone in their trusted network. Owners can also make money by sharing their bike with members of the Skylock community, essentially creating their own bike-share ecosystem with prices set based on demand and location.
During Velo Labs’ 30-day crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000, the Skylock is available for pre-order at a discounted price of $159 (the full retail price will be $249), with deliveries slated to begin by this Christmas. Questions about the Skylock’s hackability and its compatibility with iOS and Android devices, among other things, are addressed on the Skylock’s website.
While the Skylock has no shortage of charming attributes, it’s not the first of its kind. The BitLock made waves with its own crowdfunding campaign last fall and boasts many of the same features.
Not to be outdone by their U-shaped protectors, it should be noted that bicycles are getting smarter too.