Why why why hasnt somebody designed this?

Mr Wu
Mr Wu Posts: 1,238
edited May 2009 in MTB general
A GPS tracking system that you can pop in your frame, that actually sends some sort of frequency to let you know where it is?

Im not talking about the somewhat pointless immobitag, that counts on the police retriving your bike for that to be of any use.

Would you buy such a thing if it became available?

If so how much would you be willing to spend?

Im thinking about doing it myself and want to get a rough feel for market and how much people are willing to pay for such a thing.
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Comments

  • GHill
    GHill Posts: 2,402
    Sounds interesting (although there may already be some out there). Would be good if it was dual purpose, so that you could extract some sort of route information from it post-ride.
  • Mr Wu
    Mr Wu Posts: 1,238
    This is the sort of thing im thinking about

    http://www.baitbike.com/Security_For_Your_Bike.html
  • Mr Wu
    Mr Wu Posts: 1,238
    GHill wrote:
    Sounds interesting (although there may already be some out there). Would be good if it was dual purpose, so that you could extract some sort of route information from it post-ride.

    Yeah I agree with that. Im just looking around now to see if there is anything already available.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Something I have very seriously thought about.
  • Mr Wu
    Mr Wu Posts: 1,238
    Well I think there is a market for it and i know alot of geeky elec engineers that may be able to help.

    am still searching.

    Any chance we could make this stick for a week to see waht demand might be?
  • amt27
    amt27 Posts: 320
    1. would the signal travel through metal tubes? i'm no physicist, but the question has to be answered

    2. how would you keep it charged, if it's a theft/retrieve device you will only have a short time before the signal dies

    3. how would you fit it inside the bike?

    best way not to have your bike stolen is not to put it in a situation where it is likely to be stolen, the police could be doing better things than chasing GPS signals all over the place,
  • Mr Wu
    Mr Wu Posts: 1,238
    amt27 wrote:
    1. would the signal travel through metal tubes? i'm no physicist, but the question has to be answered

    2. how would you keep it charged, if it's a theft/retrieve device you will only have a short time before the signal dies

    3. how would you fit it inside the bike?

    best way not to have your bike stolen is not to put it in a situation where it is likely to be stolen, the police could be doing better things than chasing GPS signals all over the place,

    1. Yes it would.

    2. Not sure yet but good point.

    3. Initial thoughts are drop it into the seat tube, which would obviously have issues with retrival.

    Your final point, with respect, just isnt realistic. Bikes get stolen, even where you do your upmost to keep them safe, theres postings on here where people have put bikes in garages chained and bolted to ground anchors and they still get stolen. Im just trying to think about a way of getting your beloved bike back, rather than some chav sell it for ten quid.
  • projectsome
    projectsome Posts: 4,478
    amt27 wrote:
    1. would the signal travel through metal tubes? i'm no physicist, but the question has to be answered

    2. how would you keep it charged, if it's a theft/retrieve device you will only have a short time before the signal dies

    3. how would you fit it inside the bike?

    best way not to have your bike stolen is not to put it in a situation where it is likely to be stolen, the police could be doing better things than chasing GPS signals all over the place,

    1. and 3. down the seatpost, it would be magnetic. yes it would

    2. there would be a small hole in the frame from which you plug a charger
    FARKBOOK TWATTER Happiness is my fucking mood!
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    so get it insured and comply with the insurers requirements.

    the biggest problem with a and active transmitter is power and position.

    Seat tube? a lot of bikes do not have seat tubes and any other tube has access problems and which leads to charging problems (at the moment). easy charging will make the theof aware that there is something in it.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • XxxBFGxxX
    XxxBFGxxX Posts: 1,355
    my mate makes this sort of stuff. the problem ya got is power. ya would have to some how have a feed to it at all times.
  • XxxBFGxxX
    XxxBFGxxX Posts: 1,355
    just been told to tell ya to look at www.zoombak.com
  • grantway
    grantway Posts: 1,430
    Believe its called a Tracker ?
  • amt27
    amt27 Posts: 320
    Mr Wu wrote:
    3. Initial thoughts are drop it into the seat tube, which would obviously have issues with retrival.

    Your final point, with respect, just isnt realistic. Bikes get stolen, even where you do your upmost to keep them safe, theres postings on here where people have put bikes in garages chained and bolted to ground anchors and they still get stolen. Im just trying to think about a way of getting your beloved bike back, rather than some chav sell it for ten quid.

    3. couldn't the thief just take out the seat post and turn the bike upsidedown, so the transmitter falls out?

    plus contamination from water if there is a hole for charging, would be a problem,

    I'm not trying to pan your idea, just coming up with problems you may find,

    what your market? initially i thought someone locking their bike in public, but it is a person who stores a bike in garage, why not sell them a garage alarm?

    read Total Design by Stuart Pugh,
  • XxxBFGxxX
    XxxBFGxxX Posts: 1,355
    if ya eaving it in a garage fit an alarm to it and fit a gsm dialler to the alarm that then text and rings you. as it happens we make and sell these. that way ya know if any one is breaking into ya shed or garage.
  • Mr Wu
    Mr Wu Posts: 1,238
    nicklouse wrote:
    so get it insured and comply with the insurers requirements.

    the biggest problem with a and active transmitter is power and position.

    Seat tube? a lot of bikes do not have seat tubes and any other tube has access problems and which leads to charging problems (at the moment). easy charging will make the theof aware that there is something in it.


    Have I mis-understood this? alot of bikes do not have seat tubes? I mean the tube you stick your seat stem in (like the immobitag device) ?

    I think it would work in the same way that a car alarm on a car would work, if a theif were to come to your bike and it said it had a GPS tracker fitted, i dont honestly think he would go, oh yeah, ill go for this one, he'll pass and go for something less hassle.
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    I reckon I know how to do this:

    1. Pot it in the seat tube, down tube or steerer with a big ol' plug of silicone rubber so it can't be easiily removed
    2. Charge it using an inductive charger (a coil you can strap round the tube, doesn't require a direct connection - like an electric toothbrush)
    3. Give it a SIM card and have it use the mobile phone network, so you send it a text, which triggers it to text back its GPS coordinates, which you can then translate to a street location or whatever using your phone or some other software. That way it doesn't have to look for the GPS signals until you ask it to do so, making it very power efficient, and it doesn't have to store any maps so it can be very simple.

    Des
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    On Strava.{/url}
  • Si78
    Si78 Posts: 963
    amt27 wrote:
    2. how would you keep it charged, if it's a theft/retrieve device you will only have a short time before the signal dies.

    Hi,

    How about if it was charged by shaking or vibration? Like those torches you get that you shake and a metal ball moves within a coil, creating a current. Would charge itself whenever you, or the thieving-f'ing-scumbag-that-nicked-it, goes over a few bumps.

    Or

    Some type of 'dynamo' system within the bottom brackety/pedally-cranky bit.

    Si
    Why has my sig been removed by the admins???
  • Mr Wu
    Mr Wu Posts: 1,238
    Good points Des

    I did think about the inductive charger option but might be too expensive, really not sure till I have a proper look. Also dont want any interferance with anythign else fitted to the bike.

    The Sim card idea is good, as long as youve got signal. :-)
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    Si78 wrote:
    Some type of 'dynamo' system within the bottom brackety/pedally-cranky bit.

    Si

    Ooh - that's nice! The thieving little bastards would keep it topped up for you every time they took it out! Would be easy to design a bottom bracket to do this and the power requirements would be sod all...
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    On Strava.{/url}
  • amt27
    amt27 Posts: 320
    Si78 wrote:

    Some type of 'dynamo' system within the bottom brackety/pedally-cranky bit.

    Si

    good idea, and not just for this device but to power mobiles, garmins, lights and electronic gears,

    electronically powered devices are becoming more common on bikes, could sell the patent to shimano,
  • Mr Wu
    Mr Wu Posts: 1,238
    [/quote]3. couldn't the thief just take out the seat post and turn the bike upsidedown, so the transmitter falls out?

    plus contamination from water if there is a hole for charging, would be a problem,

    I'm not trying to pan your idea, just coming up with problems you may find,

    what your market? initially i thought someone locking their bike in public, but it is a person who stores a bike in garage, why not sell them a garage alarm?

    read Total Design by Stuart Pugh,[/quote]

    Nah these are all good points! They need to be addressed so the more the merrier.

    The market im thinking is your average joe, with a bike they cherish that does his best to lock it up to deter would be theives, yet still ends up getting his prize possession nicked.

    For example, there is only one place I leave my bike when im not riding it and thats attached to my right hand. Bit sad but it goes in the local shop with me and everything, alot of pikeys around where i live so i wont leave it anywhere, when i get it home its locked UPSTAIRS in my room! Probably OTT but hey ho. Its insured too so its not as if it wont be replaced by the insurance company, just you get a feel for your own bike, im the same with my guitars, ive got some very nice guitars, but no two are the same, even the same make/model (same tree) they just sound different, i think its the same with bikes.
  • Si78
    Si78 Posts: 963
    DesWeller wrote:
    Si78 wrote:
    Some type of 'dynamo' system within the bottom brackety/pedally-cranky bit.

    Si

    Ooh - that's nice! The thieving little bastards would keep it topped up for you every time they took it out! Would be easy to design a bottom bracket to do this and the power requirements would be sod all...

    I can picture the scene now....
    ....little-pikey-thieving-scumbag riding along on his freshly stolen bike.....he hears sirens....starts to pedal quicker and quicker, not realising he is powering the gps tracker, and the fuzz can follow his every move!
    Huzzah!!!

    Si
    Why has my sig been removed by the admins???
  • Si78
    Si78 Posts: 963
    amt27 wrote:
    Si78 wrote:

    Some type of 'dynamo' system within the bottom brackety/pedally-cranky bit.

    Si
    could sell the patent to shimano,

    oooh, I could make some money :D

    cher-chiiing!

    Si

    p.s. I have quickly scribbled a patent application on the back of my fag packet.... :wink:
    Why has my sig been removed by the admins???
  • I used to use GPS trackers for work quite a lot. We got them from a company called quinetiq who build all sorts of things for the MOD, their website's full of really top qulity GPS and tracking devices. The tracker we'd use was this one;

    http://www.qinetiq.com/home/capabilitie ... _s100.html

    It could be set between one second polling where the battery would last about 2 days give or take, right the way up to dorment until moving where the unit would lay in standby mode until it moved and then begin polling. You could even set the polling to hourly so the battery would last a matter of months on the most energy efficient mode. If the unit lost GPS signal it uses a sim card and gsm to continue sending data. This was a massivly expensive device to buy and run on the gsm networks and even though it was relativily high end technology (a similar version is used in cruise missiles!) it was still about the size of a tv remote.

    What i'm trying to say is, even quinetiq, who are the forerunner in this type of technology still havn't succeded in making the batery life, size and signal of the unit last the amount of time needed for this application. Garmin's forerunner 405 has a very small gps transmitter but no gsm for when the until is inside a building i.e the scum bag's house or garage. GSM would be very important as there's very little point knowing what street your bike was in before the little shit took it inside. The only other option to overcome this would be a radio transmitter so the consumer would track the item to the street the use the radio reciever for the final few yards when there is no gps.

    Secondly, the vehicle tracker systems however good they are aren't directly linked to the Police. Only tracker has that and thats because they invested hundreds of thousands in giving and installing the systems into police cars for them to follow the signals. The others like trackstar only tell you where the item you're tracking is and then you tell the Police. The Police, generally don't go chasing those sorts of signals for too long when its called through by members of the public.

    All in all, awsome idea and i'm first in the que to pick it up when they're on sale but it'l be a massive amount of work and groundbreaking technology to get it on sale.
  • Si78
    Si78 Posts: 963
    Hmmmm,

    Maybe gsm tracking / dynamo powered stuff might be too expensive to develop and too expensive to buy then.... :cry:

    Ok, how about this...

    Fingerprint recognition on the stem or bars. Pedals are locked until your fingerprint is scanned.

    If pikey thieving scumbag gets on and tries to ride it a big spike shoots up out of the seat post and 'skewers his cat flap'....

    Si
    Why has my sig been removed by the admins???
  • Rockhopper
    Rockhopper Posts: 503
    Are you saying that the unit should work out its position using the signals transmitted from the GPS satellite network then broadcast that position so it could be picked up on a reciever?
    How far away from the bike would you expect the receiver to be? If its more than a few km then the only way its going to work is via the GSM cell phone network.
    Where would it live on the bike? The seat tube on my bike is only about five inches long and is open at both ends, infact the seat post sticks out of the bottom.

    Have a look here http://www.tracker.co.uk/

    Someone has already made it, several of my mates have them fitted to their motorbikes. The insurance company stipulates that its physically attached to the bike ie bolted or bonded on, they also stipulate that no one bar the guy who fits the unit gets to know where abouts on the bike its been fitted. Yes, obviously you could strip the bike and find it but thats the point, they hide it somwhere that requires major dismantling to get to.
    How would you deal with that on a push bike?
  • desweller
    desweller Posts: 5,175
    With the greatest of respect (as a fellow engineer) for the ladies and gents at Qinetiq, I'd dispute that they are the experts at manufacturing ultra-power efficient equipment. The people with the knowhow in those areas all work for firms like Sony and Nokia - retail always has more money than government, so always attracts the best people.

    If it were running off a locally generated auxiliary power supply (e.g. Si's bottom bracket generator or agitation generator) then I would have thought it could run indefinitely (in fact it could use the activation of either of those devices as a cue to start regularly updating it's position as it would be more likely to be in motion, i.e. outside).

    The bottom bracket generator would defo be easiest to design - just strap some permanent magnets to your axle, some windings mounted to your BB cups and Robert's your mother's brother. Wheel hub dynamos have been around for yonks, how much work would really be needed to adapt the design? It's easy to source small permanent magnets with fantastically strong fields these days - just take a look on the RS Components website. You would be looking at replacing your BB though, unless you're very clever. Durability might also be a problem for you MTB types (I'm a roadie, strayed here by mistake) but would be ideal for commuter bikes and winter hacks.

    Mass produced, I don't see why this would have to cost more than a good mobile phone.
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    On Strava.{/url}
  • Thats the point, I didn't say they're the best. Just at the forefront. My pont being if they're trusted to guide cruise missiles then they're going to be able to to create a good system. Then the other problems come in like you mention. I'm basically saying that the best of every sector, be it gprs, gps or batterys would be needed. Those are all specialist markets and it would require a specialist budget to bring it all togehter.

    The bottom braket generator has been discussed on here too quite recently when someone was trying to power lights and garmins from a dynamo. I think the problem was longevity and fitting it all in without entierly redisigning bottom brackets and the space they go into on the actual bike adding to the cost.
  • shin0r
    shin0r Posts: 555
    Seems like a good idea and I would think this sort of thing would be popular but I see some issues:

    1: The bike is likely to be stripped down and the components sold off seperately anyway.

    2: You could fry any electronic componentry small enough to fit inside the frame by hooking up a car battery to it, boiling it or acid stripping it.

    3: Unless the tracker unit costs significantly less than the cost of a couple of years bike insurance people won't buy it

    4: Once it's in the frame, how do you get it back out again for upgrades or servicing?