It's not hard to see why people love it so much, though.

It's the Terminator of viral content: Despite being really old and subject to monotonous sequels, this Japanese bike-parking robot keeps grabbing the spotlight with unstoppable force.

Giken's ECO Cycle system is now blowing up the Facebook page of Japanese-media site Jrock Radio. But the same apparatus racked up big hits in 2014, 2013, 2012, and when Giken posted a video about it in 2011. Oh, let's not forget the mentions in 2010, 2009, and 2008. And now that I'm looking into it, this very site also covered the robot a couple years back.

It's not hard to see why people love it so much. The ECO Cycle is a clever solution to a deficit of urban cycle storage. Looking like a spoke-riddled elevator pit, the machine shoots out a mechanical arm to grab bikes and drag them dozens of feet underground. A pressure-sensitive mat ensures the robot won't also nab nearby riders and take them screaming on a hell-ride down under.

The system is fast, able to retrieve cycles as quickly as 8 seconds, and spacious, with the latest model having room for 204 bikes. And despite similar technology for autos existing in the United States, it just sounds so like Japan to hand off another task to the robots. This is a land, after all, where machines already direct traffic, comfort lovelorn men, and teach dental students proper form by grunting if jabbed in the gums (or, seriously, nudged in the breasts).

So hello and goodbye again, old friend—we'll see you again in 2016. For parking-'bot completists, here's some of the previous coverage:


About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California's Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over unoccupied homes in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  3. A syringe sits on top of a car. Houses are behind it.
    Life

    The Changing Geography of the Opioid Crisis

    A new study shows that the country faces different opioid challenges in urban and rural areas.

  4. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  5. photo: a woman on an electric scooter
    Transportation

    Most Electric Scooter Riders Are Men. Here's Why.

    Most users of micromobility devices like dockless scooters and e-bikes are young men. Fixing that gender gap may take more than just adding safety features.

×