This could be the all-smart, all-screeching bicycle lock that’ll put all other standard devices to shame. Linka, dubbed “the world's first auto-unlocking smart bike lock”, promises to foil street thieves in more ways than one. The small yet mighty gadget, which sits just above the rear wheel, loops a metal ring between the spokes whenever you want to secure the bike. And if the bandit snatch the bike, the gizmo sensitively pick ups the movements and immediately rings out a piercing 100dB siren. Interacting with your smartphone app, the Linka will automatically unlock once you’re near the bike. A success at Kickstarter, with almost 500% funds in 30 days, Linka is currently available for pre-order for $99 and will be shipping in January 2016. Metro talked more about it with Mohamed Mohamed, founder of Velasso, the San Francisco company behind the device.
Q: Bicycle locks have been going around for a while now. What makes your device so different?
–All other smart bike locks in the market are exactly the same – they’re U-locks. U-locks are great but highly depend on the ability of the user to lock up correctly and still require the user to remember a bike lock. Linka is mounted to the bike so you never forget to bring it with you. Plus, it immobilizes the wheels every time.
Q: How is immobilisation the key feature of the bicycle?
– Immobilizing the wheels would deter a great percentage of the opportunist thieves looking for the quickest thing. Since the wheel is locked in place to the frame, the bike cannot be ridden and the thief must carry the bike. If this happens, a 100 dB alarm goes off, making it quite obvious to the surrounding community. We also offer an add-on lasso chain which can be connected directly through the Linka locking ring and doesn't require a padlock or key.
Q: What studies did you perform in developing the lock?
–We did extensive research and discovered that 85-90% of bikes that are stolen are ridden away. This makes the thief inconspicuous less than 100 meters away from where the bike was stolen; the criminal looks like a regular cyclist like everyone else and the recovery rate for bikes in the U.S. alone is less than 2%. Since I'm an avid, everyday cyclist, I realized that myself and others need more security and peace of mind for our bikes.
Q: What interesting features does the Linka smartphone app have?
–We have an established list of thousands of stolen bike locations in the United States that appears on the app. This helps us provide the user with a "heads up" that a neighborhood is known to have bicycles stolen, so they can be alerted and avoid the place. We will begin to launch the same thing in each country Linka is operated in as usage increases!