Data tagging for bikes?

Kafka\'s Doll
Kafka\'s Doll Posts: 208
edited April 2008 in Commuting chat
Went to see my Dad last night and he was talking about how he got his dog data tagged. Apparently a small microchip gets inserted under the skin, which means he can always be found by GPS. It occurred to me that such a thing must be feasible for bikes as a security measure. Is it? Is it expensive? Does it work? Would the police chase it up?

If this doesn't exist already, with half a million bikes nicked every year it's got to be at least a good business opportunity...


  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    scroll to the bottom there is a system available.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • ac220v
    ac220v Posts: 15
    Well, one obvious problem is that animal tags are inside animal's flesh and so can't be easily removed/fryed, aren't screened by tons of metal tubes, and IIRC, they aren't really GPS anyway, but rather RFID, like chips in "radio" keycards - you need to be within a several yards of a tag to detect it.

    You can (probably) place a tag somewhere inside tyres or handlebar grips, but that still would be rather easy to disable by thief ordinarily skilled in the art. :(

    Of course, it won't happen unless everybody is using these tags. If system is widespread enough for thieves (and police) to know about it, but not that widespread, bad guys may just decide to move on to next target... (again, if tags/stickers are really difficult to remove with right tools, which I doubt. )
    Sorry for any non-English in the post.
  • Ah, so I've misunderstood. They aren't tagged in such a way as someone could locate them on a map? Because that would revolutionise security. And, if incorporated into a bike build (ie, the tag located deep in the frame), wouldn't be accessible to the thief -- nor would it require anyone else to have done likewise to locate your bike.

    Presumably what I've described is either technologically impossible or horrendously expensive?
  • Cakey
    Cakey Posts: 6
    I think for something like this to show up on a map it would have to be active (ie not passive) and always transmitting; they would therefore need power, and therefore a battery. So I don't think it could be small enough to be honest (plus, as mentioned earlier, there would be other issues of interference froom the metal surrounding it)

    Systems like this exist for cars/artics etc and can show a 'snail trail' on a map of where they have been; they aren't very expensive, but they are quite bulky.

    I dunno, as the electronics and batteries etc get smaller, something like this that is integrated into the bike (with a socket for recharging the battery) might become feasible - thinking about it would only need 1 or 2 signals a day to be sent to be useful in the event of theft so the battery could last a while I guess.
  • ac220v
    ac220v Posts: 15
    Presumably what I've described is either technologically impossible or horrendously expensive?

    Not impossible, just insanely difficult to do right and with something as compact and exposed as a bike. :)

    GPS/cell transmitter chips are quite small already, but as Cakey pointed out, you need quite a power source, and, like RFID, if it receives signals it can be jammed (pretty easily and cheaply, you don't need large radius, and the system can't use hopping frequency for a few reasons.)/overloaded(a few batteries and Tesla coil clipped to the frame... remove cycle comp first :) )/screened (compact GPS receivers usually don't work inside cars, so knowing where approximately antenna is and covering it with a few layers of tinfoil shold work)

    Exposed (for charging) battery can be shorted/removed...

    Unlike RFID, you can sort of defend from that by using "dead man" scheme (if your tag STOPS transmitting, you're in trouble...), but that needs more frequent transmissions, so battery needs to be larger... So, bad guy just drains it (it's exposed!), waits for owner to check out, owner sees nothing wrong (neither is he particullary surprised, he missed yesterday's charge), he goes back, and voila...

    As I said, if proprerly designed to complicate easier forms of attack it still might be quite effective, but it's not a silver bullet.

    As for batteries getting smaller, - If they can be small/powerful enough to do this without weekly charging, we'd be in electricartopia... :) Designing compact batteries is well... more than insanely difficult.
    Sorry for any non-English in the post.