RFID Lock Keeps Your Bike Safe

What do you do with an RFID chip implanted in your body? If you are [gmendez3], you build a bike lock that responds to your chip. The prototype uses MDF to create a rear wheel immobilizer. However, [gmendez3] plans on building a version using aluminum.

For the electronics, of course, there’s an Arduino. There’s also an RC522 RFID reader. We couldn’t help but think of the Keyduino for this application. When the system is locked, the Arduino drives a servo to engage the immobilizer. To free your rear wheel, simply read your implanted chip. The Arduino then commands the servo to disengage the immobilizer. You can see the system in operation in the video below.

We’ve talked about RFID implants before. Using them as keys for your preferred transportation isn’t a unique idea, of course. Is this is the killer application that makes you want to get chipped? We doubt it, but we admit it is a matter of personal preference.

30 thoughts on “RFID Lock Keeps Your Bike Safe

  1. MDF, Aluminum, Steel, what ever you make it from, the servo is the weak point and easily broken. Maybe the lock can activate the brakes somehow with a more durable mechanism(s).

    1. Obviously the thing in the video can be ignored and you can ride away not even noticing the small snap sound as the ‘lock’ falls apart.
      But in theory you can make a lock use a servo though, simply encase it and have it push a metal pin into a locking mechanism made of metal.
      It’s how normal locks work (the pin part) and how electronic door openers work, the magnet used there has no strength other than pushing a pin around which in turn gets its stopping power from how it’s situated and locking a larger mechanism in place.

  2. safe isn’t the word you should be using, at least not without scarequotes because it has no locking mechanism. also, it does nothing to keep someone from just taking the bike and removing the mechanism later. at most this device would confuse a thief for a moment.

    1. Take the bike and use our favorite unlocking tool from the safety of your workshop:

      I live in the Netherlands. We have lots of bikes. Want to make sure your bike doesn’t get stolen? Make sure it’s uglier/cheaper looking then the one next to yours, and make sure it’s secured more tightly.
      Not 100% fool proof. Once had a bike stolen by people that simply stole the whole bike rack. They unscrewed it from the ground and took it with all the bikes attached.

  3. I’m surprised no one is asking the obvious question of… why the hell would you want to have an RFID chip IMPLANTED in your body in the first place??? Doesn’t that alone just scream of massive security issues?

    1. There are good and bad things with it. Good thing is that it’s harder to steal your hand than your RFID-tag. Yes, you could just sit by and listen to the RF-transmission with some nice antenna to steal it, but that’s harder than to just take your tag. You also always have your authentication key with you so you never forget it. A bad thing is that the RFID-signature will more equal yourself than a normal access card, which allows tracking of you (and if someone steals your RFID-signature stuff will get really weird).
      On the whole, RFID in your hand is not necessarily a bad thing, but it really doesn’t differ that much from a normal accesscard.

  4. Funny i was working on the same thing last week. My solution is more like a traditional lock where the Servo is completely encapsulated.

    I was thinking of RFID to but the problem is the power consumtion of the RFID IC it will dry the batteries easily.

    I would like to use BT 4.0 and then unlock it via a phone.

  5. Lots of this about. I’m busy mounting a motor on the back of a eurocylinder barrel for an NFC lock that’s not made of playdoh.

    I found that most of the shelf NFC readers with a PCB antenna aren’t ideal for reading implanted tags. HackaDay’s own Mathieu Stephan (limpkin.fr) came up with a great ferrite antenna design tuned to the small implanted tags. I’ve used it successfully in a project to unlock my PC using my tag.

  6. 1)
    I would use a multiple turn stepper with a screw-thread mechanism to tension the brake line and then lock it with a solenoid in either off or on position. Of course you could always cut the brake wire off. Inconvenient getaway if both front and back wheel brakes do not work for the thief.
    With the present setup what would happen if it is triggered by mistake/bug/vibrations while at speed… Ouch!

    1. Main problem with a solenoid is that neither of it’s potential failure states are in any way desirable. Failing open leaves the bike open for theft and failing closed could potentially mean coming to an abrupt and unwanted stop. Well at least the bike would stop not sure about the rider :P

  7. Even if the issues above are resolved, you really think the bike will still be there if it’s not tethered to anything? I saw the same concept on Shark Tank and they just laughed the guy off the stage.

    This just isn’t going to work IRL.

  8. What this implanted RFID chip might have an application in this area is for those shared bike services that several cities have where rather than negotiating with a terminal, one could just pick an available unit and go.

  9. RFID Nobody can Clone that from 10 meters away. oh now

    I prefer a Key and properly mounted lock system designed around 2 keys at the same time and placed in an awkard way to pick or pop, This idea probably sounded good while watching Anime and eating noodles but when you’ve had a bike stolen that is not going to cut it guesstimate is that 70% of people posting here have either stolen a bike as a prank or had a bike stolen not a prank at some stage.

    picking the lock of a bike and then placing it on the ceiling at a tennis centre on a crossbeam the climb it’s all about the climb.

    That lock = Bike Thrown on a roof for lols

  10. I once designed an NFC operated bike lock based on a regular metal frame U lock that works with the original key as well.

    The mechanism is very simple. The key turns a lock cylinder, which drags a pin against a circular wedge which pushes the lock catch back against a spring and releases the U bar. There’s also an electric motor in the tube that can move the whole catch and spring assembly back and forth independent of the key with a screw mechanism.

  11. Of course the solenoid or latch will break.

    I’d still be quite pleased with this for a quick project. Its a bit of fun, isn’t it?

    Maybe a Latching solenoid in a metal housing that is (somehow) riveted/welded to the frame?

    My Gazelle bike has a similar manual device on the back wheel – which is OK but not foolproof – and I have even found one of these on the ground in town before…

    I like the comment about the thieves taking the whole bike rack! (swines)

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