Connected Objects Cycling

Noke smart U-lock protects your two-wheeler from a stealer

There have been no shortage of smart locks designed to protect the home. But many feel most at home on the road with two wheels hitting the road and a desire to protect what moves them there.

Just last fall, Fūz Designs introduced the Noke smart padlock that kept lockers closed to all but the right iPhone owner. Now the company has returned to Kickstarter with the Noke U-Lock. Evolving the electronics of the original into a shell that it calls “virtually indestructible,” the protective device  accommodates both bikes and motorcycles.

After pressing the unlock button on the device, the lock seeks out a smartphone with the right code in the companion app and disengages. Noke has also built functionality for lending a bike into the app and for revoking those lending privileges. Consumers can also track their bikes via GPS built into the product. Apple Watch compatibility is in the works. And bucking a trend, the company is even supporting Windows Phones in addition to iPhones and Android devices.

Beyond smartphone-based unlocking, the company has added some thoughtful touches. For example, while Fūz Designs claims that the battery in the U-Lock will last for years, it includes a USB connector for a quick charge if you ignore the low battery warning. The device also includes a 30-second alarm if someone tampers with it for more than 3 seconds. And in case the smartphone battery runs out of juice or customers decide to ride without their calling companions, one can set a Morse Code-like override pattern. There’s also the option of a $14 companion key fob to unlock the device.

The company is pretty set on two of the color choices that will be offered and is asking backers to weigh in on others. It’s offering the U-Lock at $99, a $30 discount off its expected retail price, with expected delivery in September 2015. Its campaign, which seeks to raise $100,000 (that’s a cool thousand locks), closes on April 17th.

The appeal of the Noke U-Lock is that it is as clever about what features it offers when all the pieces are moving (sharing, GPS tracking, alarm) as when things go a bit wrong (the codes, the fob, and the quick charging). While it lacks the solar power charging of the Skylock, it should prove an attractive way for smartphone owners to protect their bicycles and integrate them into their connected life.


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