No more smartcards, mobile phones, or keys are needed with this new technology as all it requires is a chip which is implanted into the customer’s skin. Germany’s Call a Bike system is taking advantage of Canada-based Melanin, Inc.’s high-tech innovation, the IntelliFreckle. The IntelliFreckle is the size of a grain of rice and can be inserted under a customer’s skin through a painless air pump, found at each station.
Deutsche Bahn, the provider of Call a Bike is the first to integrate this biochip into its service to be used in 68 cities where its offerings are already in place. The new service is to be called “Rub a Bike”, named after the action a customer with the biochip must do in order to rent one of the fleet’s bicycles.
To unlock a Rub a Bike, one must rub the body part with the inserted chip directly over the RFID reader on the dock in any stand where a bicycle is parked. A thumbs up image is displayed on the dock with five seconds of the 1984 hit tune “99luftballons” played from speakers on the bike which will signal to the customer that their identification has been accepted and the bike is ready for use.
With the technology being new, there is a rub with some aspects which still are being tweaked. For example, clothing can get in the way of the dock’s reader and the IntelliFreckle chip, so the manufacturer recommends inserting the chip into a location on the body that is not normally covered by clothing. IntelliFreckle’s inventor, Hugh G. Mole, who graduated from McGill University in Montreal stated, “The buttocks and torso are generally not good locations for the chip. The back of the hand works very well, however, due to its extended nature, it seems the middle finger works the best.”
Happy April Fools’ Day from The Bike-sharing Blog! This blog post is a joke, but probably will be true someday.