Speed Reads

The future has arrived

Behold: Skylock, the solar-powered, Wi-Fi–equipped bike lock


There are all sorts of bike locks. There's the cable lock, the U-Lock, the industrial chain, the looped-string-secured-with-a-combo-lock — and now, there's a keyless lock whose developers hope it can create a new Airbnb-type market for two-wheeled transport.

The Skylock isn't the world's first keyless bike lock, but it's uniquely innovative in other ways. It's coated in solar panels to charge the internal Bluetooth that serves as the locking mechanism, and it can hook up to Wi-Fi networks to boost the Bluetooth range and send for help if you take a spill. Skylock owners can also program time-sensitive passwords into an accompanying app, essentially allowing them to rent their locks, and bikes, to anyone.

The lock's makers, Velo Labs, have launched a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign to bring the technology to the streets. "If you wanted to start your own informal bike-share, it's completely possible right out of the gate," Velo Labs co-founder Jack Al-Kahwati tells NPR.