The smart lock's piercing alarm can draw attention from 150 feet away.

It says something about the speed of technology that this is not even the third or fourth Bluetooth-enabled bike lock. But the "Nokē" U-lock does have a slew of bells and whistles that—if you're device-savvy enough to operate it—might make it a treasured accessory for wired riders.

The remote-sensing device, in development by Utah's FŪZ Designs, looks as if a bar of Kryptonite was attacked by leather patches from a professor's jacket. But its homey design masks an interior jam-packed with electronic ... stuff:

Nokē

The $99 gadget's main selling point is that it syncs with your phone, so when you push a button on the crossbar it senses your presence and unlocks. If you forget or lose your phone, there's a way to open the lock by pressing a customized series of short and long touches, sort of like Morse code. The app also allows you to set up friends as designated users of the lock (or as banned users if they become enemies).

Because it's so smart, the Nokē has perhaps unintended human characteristics. It doesn't want to be abandoned, so it will let users know its location via phone. It also gets angry at potential thieves: An accelerometer senses when it's jostled for more than three seconds, and then activates a "shrieking alarm" that will "definitely send [a thief] running and get the attention of anyone within about 50 meters," write its creators. "Yes, it's that loud." (The annoying alarm is an escalation of the Cricket's antitheft technology, which texts you when it senses movement.)

Though it sounds like the Miracle Lock of the Future, I can think of a couple downsides. The biggest is its spacious U, a glaring vulnerability for thieves using quick, brute-force pry attacks. It's also easy to imagine a scenario where the alarm continually blares due to unintentional bumps. Here's hoping the Nokē warranty covers replacement costs after angry, sleep-deprived neighbors beat it to death with hammers.

Nokē

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a map of future climate risks in the U.S.
    Maps

    America After Climate Change, Mapped

    With “The 2100 Project: An Atlas for A Green New Deal,” the McHarg Center tries to visualize how the warming world will reshape the United States.

  2. photo: an Uber driver.
    Perspective

    Did Uber Just Enable Discrimination by Destination?

    In California, the ride-hailing company is changing a policy used as a safeguard against driver discrimination against low-income and minority riders.

  3. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  4. photo: Robert Marbut, the incoming director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness,
    Equity

    The Consultant Leading the White House Push Against Homelessness

    In Texas and Florida, Robert Marbut Jr. sold cities on a controversial model for providing homeless services. Now he’s bringing it to the White House.

  5. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

×