Instead of having to keep track of the key to your bike lock, and pass it to your friend in order to loan the bike out, a new kind of locking device for bicycles uses proximity sensing and shared access to make bike security much simpler.
Bitlock is billed as the "world's first keyless bike lock", and the system uses a Bluetooth connection with your smartphone to sense when you're within three feet of it, which will then enable you to unlock it with a push of a button on the lock itself.
The lock and its accompanying app records your location every time you lock or unlock your bike, helping you keep tabs on where you left it, and the location of the bike can be shared with others in order to make it easily shareable for peer-to-peer bike lending. Each Bitlock can be set up with multiple user profiles so that access to the bike can be set to allow lending, without the need for a physical key.
"Bitlock lets you share the location and access to your bike with your family, friends, neighbors, classmates, roommates, and virtually anyone you wish. With Bitlock, you can create and setup your own bike share system for your local community."
Bitlock also maps your rides and gathers statistics on distance, speed, elevation, estimated calories burned, and the amount of CO2 saved by riding your bike, and can be tracked over time. The lock itself is powered with a 2.4Ah Lithium thionyl chloride (Li-SOCl2) battery that is capable of handling over 10,000 lock/unlock cycles, which should last users for up to five years.
The U-lock itself is made from heat-treated steel and is reinforced for security, and the BitLock system "uses encryption found in online banking systems", so the device isn't easily hackable by high-tech bike thieves.
Right now, Bitlock, from Mesh Motion Inc., is in a crowdfunding phase on Kickstarter, and backers at the $79 level will get their own next generation bike lock.