Fast track to stopping cycle theft

29th October 2013

News, Student news, Alumni news

When Wadham MCR President Daniel Zajarias-Fainsod had his bicycle stolen from outside College, the seed of an idea was planted. Some 18 months later, he and fellow student and bike theft victim, Franz Salzmann have launched LOCK8, the first fully remote controlled bicycle lock operated through your smartphone and containing a tracking device.

 
  • Daniel Zajarias-Fainsod with his Lock8 protected bicycle by the cycle racks where his bicycle was stolen

  • LOCK8, the first fully remote controlled bicycle lock operated through your smartphone and containing a tracking device

Bicycle theft in the US and Europe is a huge problem with an estimated €5bn worth of bicycles getting stolen every year; and one in three cyclists have been victim to bike theft.

Daniel, (2011, Biomedical Engineering), describes how this revolutionary new bicycle lock came about in an attempt to address this problem: “My bike got stolen from outside Wadham during matriculation – very inconvenient! Then in April, Franz, who was studying Russian and Eastern European studies at LMH, had his bike stolen. We were discussing the thefts when he said wouldn’t it be good to have tracking systems on bikes. I suggested combining the tracker with a lock. We started playing with the idea, eventually submitting a patent and finding investors.”

Once they had developed a prototype Danny and Franz entered various venture capital competitions, such as the Swiss Venture Kick, where they got through the first and second rounds with their idea before they decided that they would rather be UK based so would find the investors themselves using the crowd funding campaign Kickstarter to help them launch and market the lock.

LOCK8, which will retail at around £99, has a variety of innovative features:
•    Keyless. LOCK8 uses your smartphone as an e-Key to provide safe and easy access to your bicycle. Swipe your finger to lock and unlock your bike; you can even set the LOCK8 to automatically unlock when you approach your bike from just a few meters away.
•    GPS. With the geolocator you will always know where your bike is. This allows you to send the location of your bike and your e-Key to friends via Facebook, bringing greater possibilities in Bike Sharing
•    Alarmed. With six sensors a LOCK8 equipped bicycle is protected from theft. The tamper sensors detect changes in temperature, cutting of the lock cable, vibration and even motion, the 120 decibel Alarm is sounded to ward off any would-be thief.

“We want to take bicycle security and ease-of-use to the next level,” says Daniel. “The possibility to share an e-key inaugurates a new era for bikers.”

He and Franz believe that a smartphone connected bicycle lock is not only useful for individual bike owners. There are also advantages for bike rental companies and bike sharing schemes within cities. Bike rentals and hotels can use their existing infrastructure and by adding LOCK8 will easily be able to rent and locate their bikes using a smartphone.