You’ve gotta love modern times – there are now ‘smart city’ companies out there working specifically to develop technologies that will make urban living easier and more efficient than ever before. San-Francisco’s Lattis is one of these companies, and they’ve come up with a clever new smart lock for bike commuters and bike-share programs.
The Ellipse Smart Bike Lock was recently introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This U-lock uses Bluetooth technology to enable locking/unlocking from your phone, real-time theft and crash alerts, and the ability to set up keyless bike sharing within your trusted circle of friends. The Ellipse also features a solar panel which produces more power than you might expect…
Construction wise the Ellipse features a 17mm chromoly shackle with a dual-locking mechanism, and the electronics are all temperature, moisture and shock resistant. Where it gets fancy is how it pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and communicates at distances up to 800ft. With a simple tap on your phone the Ellipse opens/locks, but of course there are other fun functions to play with.
An internal accelerometer allows the Ellipse to alert users to bike theft attempts with an instant message right to your phone. However if you want someone to be able to take your bike for a ride, you can set up a trusted network and allow others electronic access to your steed. Your bike can also be tracked with the Find My Ellipse feature in the smartphone app. By detecting the last location the bike was locked this feature can tell you where your friends have been riding, or help you remember which pub you closed down last night.
Possibly the coolest feature of this lock is that it can detect major impacts, and using the Ellipse App it will send notifications (with GPS coordinates) to your family members or friends so they can come help you out, or at least be aware that something has happened.
The lock’s built-in solar panel will actually provide enough power that it all but eliminates the need for charging- Just one hour of sunlight produces enough juice for the Ellipse to operate for a week. 12 hours of sunlight equals a full charge, which can keep the lock going for up to six months. Should you still run out of power, you can plug in via micro-USB to top off the battery.
Lattis are looking for individual and fleet customers with the Ellipse, so they’re developing a commercial bike-sharing platform that should roll out sometime in the first half of 2017. They aim to make bike-sharing much cheaper than existing systems with web and app-based programs that are customizable to suit different bike-share applications.
Lattis envisions a system where users can pick up and drop off shared bikes anywhere, pay for borrowed bikes through their smartphones, and benefit from the added safety of the Ellipse’s crash notification while they ride. As for potential hackers, they say the lock’s ‘bank-level’ encryption should keep things secure.
The Ellipse smart lock is now available online for $199 USD, with free shipping to the USA and Canada.