Mobile Devices

October 21, 2013

BitLock Gets Rid of Keys for Bike Locks

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA), in 2012 the U.S. bicycle industry had $6.1 billion in sales including related parts and accessories. Additionally, there was $1.1 billion in used bicycles sales for a total of almost $7.3 billion for the year. Many of these sales are to replace stolen bicycles. The statistics for bicycle theft is not very accurate because the vast majority of stolen bicycles are not reported, and of the 48 percent recovered by law enforcement only 5 percent are returned to their owners. Never the less, the yearly estimate for stolen bicycles is between 250,000 to more than a million in the U.S., resulting in $50 million in loses.

To help bike owners hold onto their property for as long as possible, BitLock has created a lock that turns a smartphone into a virtual bike key. Made from reinforced and cut resistant steel, along with a high-security disc locking mechanism and bent shackle leg, the BitLock hardware is designed to give would-be thieves longer than usual to dismantle the lock. The lock mechanism does not have a keyhole, instead uses an application on a mobile device to detect and identify the user. The user then pushes a button on the lock and it unlocks automatically, without any keys, combinations, or magnets.

The battery on the lock has an approximate life of five years on an average use of five lock/unlock operations per day. It can also perform 10,000 such operations before it sends a warning indicating its status so the battery can be replaced. The lithium thionyl chloride battery lasts such a long time because it has a self-discharge rate of one percent per year. Also, the battery can withstand temperatures from of -55°C or -67° F to +125°C or °F257, and every component in the lock is sealed in plastic, making it moisture and dust proof.

If you misplace your phone or the battery dies, you can use a 16 digit binary code to unlock your bike. This code is generated when you first register the lock and it can be used anytime.

The lock is compatible with iPhones and Android devices and besides unlocking the bike, the applications provide different metrics like miles ridden and calories burned. Access to the lock can be shared with other users as long as they have active data connection on their smartphone.

BitLock is in a campaign phase at Kickstarter with a $120,000 goal by November 14, 2013 and as of today October 21, they have a little more than $62,000.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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