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With bike share schemes appearing to be vogue all over the world, a team of New York inventors are developing a system that could work in smaller environments such as small towns and university campuses.
Called the Social Bicycle System (SoBi), this system may offer a solution to why bike sharing schemes are generally not rolled out widely. Namely, these are the dependency on rental stations, and the high cost of implementation.
SoBi uses GPS, mobile communications, and a secure lock that can attach to almost any bicycle and lock to any regular bike stand. A user can find a SoBi bike by using a mobile phone. The phone also allows the user to unlock the bike.
The system does not require separate infrastructure and can be deployed at approximately one-third the cost of existing systems, according to the designers.
Additional benefits for the user include the ability to extract information such as miles travelled, calories burned, CO2 emissions offset, and connections to other social cyclists. The finished lock hub can act as a carrier and also has lights on the rear. To further its green credentials, power for the electronics on the SoBi lock hub is generated by a dynamo, which is attached to the rear wheel and charges a battery while the bike is in motion.
A test containing 20-25 bicycles featuring the SoBi system will be tested out in New York City. The flaws of the system will be identified in this test trial with planned improvements made thereafter.
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