AlterLock CycleGuardService

#1 Report on the development of AlterLock

Developing schedule

Now we are planning the housing, electronic substrates and antennas design of the device. Also, we are developing the apps for the Bicycle Guard Service. The schedule is the following.

  • July to August 2020:Developing the firmware and apps
  • September 2020:Integration testing between the device and apps
  • October 2020:Testing between Various types smartphones and the device
  • November 2020:Field testing
  • December 2020:Launching

Update contents

We have released the first generation of AlterLock since 2018 in Japan. And we could get a lot of feedback from users. We have considered all the feedback and will update the following features.

  • Alarm sounds
  • We are adjusting it so that it is two to three times higher in physical terms. We are aiming for a 10 dB increase in sound pressure. To increase the volume, the buzzer itself needs to have a larger diameter, more space for reverberation, and a coil for higher voltage. However, due to the thinness and slenderness of the Alter Lock's housing, it was very difficult to find the right components and space to do this. For the coils, we have designed custom components.

  • Making the device thinner
  • By reducing the width of the device itself, it can be fitted to aero frames, which are the norm for middle grade and above road bikes, without worrying about it sticking out to the sides. Our aerodynamics experts advised us that there is no significant difference in performance between the current Alter Lock and the bottle, but as a cyclist we wanted to be sure. We will also be adopting a different mounting orientation policy to the current version, so that no part of the device affects the design of the frame.

  • Increasing strength of the device
  • A metal sleeve will be installed around the bolt holes and the thickness and ribs of the enclosure will be redesigned to achieve a significant increase in strength. In the current version, to achieve the thinnest possible thickness at the time, the thickness of the enclosure was reduced to the limit in some areas, which resulted in a sacrifice of strength. In the second generation, a metal sleeve has been added to increase the strength against bolting torque. In addition, the assembly method of the enclosure has been changed to improve sealing and waterproofing.

  • Prevention of false vibration detection
  • We are planning to improve the vibration detection system so that it can be used safely in cycle racks. The vibration detection uses an acceleration sensor to sound an alarm if the acceleration exceeds a set threshold. However, even when the sensitivity is set to low, the system can detect vibrations caused by the wind on the bike rack, but vibrations such as those caused by neighboring bicycles hitting each other can be surprisingly loud and cause the system to react in some cases. For cyclists, the case of parking on a bike rack can never be ignored. We are looking into implementing an algorithm to deal with this. We are also planning several other quality and functionality improvements, as well as Bluetooth improvements and updates to the app, which we hope to announce later.

Appearance and internal design images

The bottom right is the current version and the top left is the next version. It will be 23% thinner in the wide part and 35% thinner in the narrow part.

This is an image of the internal design. The board size is half of the current version, and the most advanced hardware and antenna experts have worked hard to devise the best possible parts placement and wiring, design custom components, and ensure and improve antenna performance.

There are also several other quality and functionality improvements. We are also planning to make improvements around Bluetooth and to the app, which we hope to announce later.

*Please note that the information might be changed before the release.