Bicycle theft is a real problem in certain parts of the world. Around 20,000 bikes are stolen in London each year and roughly 5,000 per year are stolen in Dublin. Even having a top of the range bicycle lock won’t be much use against something like a 42 inch foldable boltcutter as shown in the image below.
Sure you can make a bike less appealing to a bike thief by using multiple locks etc., but really if they want it they will eventually get through any defenses you have. Tracking the whereabouts of your bike is a great second line of defense to have, especially if you’ve shelled out a few hundred euros for a decent bicycle. The second generation GSM/GPS tracker made by Fusion is still undergoing development and not yet for sale on Tindie, but we have blogged about the first generation which you can buy. Fusion has streamlined the design to focus specifically on fitting it into handlebars.
A post to the r/electronics subreddit by Fusion about the new design has gotten a considerable amount of attention and people have been commenting with all kinds of possible additions to the project. Reddit user camomile came up with the great idea to add Bluetooth and link to a smartphone. This way alerts could be set up to notify you of any movement of your bike away from your relatively close proximity — like locked right outside your office.
It’s great to see a project like this that gets people thinking and throwing their suggestions into the ring. The fact that this tracker is Teensy based means it wouldn’t be all that hard to go adding in new features you want.
The tracker comes with a nano sim card slot and communicates via 2G. The GPS co-ordinates and battery voltage are sent back to an SQL database for you to access. There are other places besides bicycles where this device would be useful, several people mentioned motorcycles as an obvious other application. It will be interesting to see this second version in action — currently living in metal handlebars is a connectivity design hurdle that needs to be overcome — and who knows, there might well be more revisions after this.