RFID vs. Honor
What third world children have to do with NYC commuting and why RFID beats honor systems every time.
By Maria Popova
YOU BE CYCLIST
Remember when the One Laptop Per Child program first made waves and everyone thought a $100 laptop for the third world was anywhere from laughable to plain undoable? Well, two years later OLPC has had the last laugh with its world-changing success, and the design team behind it is after a brand new revolutionary initiative.
The guys at Continuum have just concepted Ubicycle: a high-tech yet brilliantly user-friendly public bike-share system. It’s simple: you “rent” a bike using the same funds-loaded Smart card you use on trains and buses. It’s RFID-enabled, so whenever you use it to unlock a bike from the rack, the system knows who’s taking the goodie. (Sure beats a may-or-may-not-honor honor system.)
And speaking of the rack, each nifty modular station holds 2 bikes and the racks can be stacked horizontally. Seven of them (that’s 14 bikes for the mathematically- challenged) take as much space as a single parked car. The lock mechanisms are powered by the solar panels coating the kiosks for the ultimate cherry on top.
(Meanwhile, Philly is still trying to get the very, very 1.0 Philly BikeShare program off the ground. Hey, at least we’re trying.)
Published June 2, 2008