Locks are all very well and good, but it always helps to have an extra layer of security that discourages bike thieves just a little bit more. British cyclists James Sheppard and Matthew Leach have developed just such a layer, in the form of the strobing, screaming Limpet.
The device is paired with an encrypted app on the user's smartphone via Bluetooth, and gets attached to either of two mounts – one goes on a bicycle's seatpost (where the Limpet can also serve as a tail light), while the other disables a motorcycle's throttle and brake lever. It's applied to those mounts with a simple twist, and is secured by a solenoid locking mechanism that can only be unlocked via the user's phone's unique Bluetooth ID.
Once the Limpet is armed and in place, its ring of LEDs pulse on and off, letting people know not to mess with it. An integrated accelerometer will detect if the bike is moved or if the Limpet is fiddled with, causing the device to respond by flashing its lights, emitting a loud audible alarm, and notifying the user through an alert on their phone. It can also be set to go off if the bike is moved outside of a given geographical area.
If the thief still opts to take off with the bike, its whereabout can be tracked using a GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) module within the Limpet, which transmits its location. That GSM capability also allows remotely-located users to send an SOS message including their GPS coordinates to a predetermined contact, by rotating the Limpet three times – this is assuming that their phone is unusable.
One charge of the integrated battery should be good for a claimed 30 days of use in standby.
Plans call for the Limpet to be the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, launching in the middle of November. Assuming that campaign is successful, an early bird pledge of £64.99 (about US$83) will get you one of the devices if you're quick off the mark, with that amount rising to £129.99 ($167) thereafter. An additional £29.99 ($39) will also need to be pledged for either of the mounts, plus a subscription will be required, priced at £9.99 ($13) per quarter or £39.96 ($51) annually.
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