OUSC, engineering team up to transform Bike Loan Program

By Stephanie Sokol

After issues with the past Bike Share Program, the Bike Loan Program was developed earlier this year to create a  more efficient and accountable on-campus green transportation system, where students checked out and took responsibility for bikes.  

Oakland University Student Congress and the engineering department joined to develop a proposal for Wi-Fi controlled SMART bikes, which will have electronic locks designed by computer science and engineering students and faculty.

Brian Dean and Osamah Rawashdeh, assistant professors of electrical and computer engineering, developed the lock plans with OUSC student services director,  Amera Fattah.


How the bikes work 

By requiring students to enter their unique PIN, the locks provide safety and accountability with tracking ability, according to Dean.

“When researching, we hadn’t found the perfect fit,” Fattah said. “Some had expensive fees and difficult contracts. We decided to integrate everything together for a convenient program that will increase accountability and build a better representation for OU as a green school.”

Ultimately, students will check out a bike from one of the multiple Wi-Fi racks to be located on campus, entering their password and maintaining responsibility for it until they lock it up again and it checks back into the system, according to Dean.

He said if the bike is stolen when off the system, it will be the students’ liability.

“We want something marketable to other schools and cities,” Dean said.

The locks can be used on any type of bike,  so  the initial goal is to use the current bikes, according to Fattah.


The next step

Three-to-five prototypes will be developed by the end of winter semester and funding will be discussed before the winter semester.

If funded, next summer students will have the opportunity to be “beta testers” for the bikes and evaluate them, according to Rawashdeh.

Dean said if the product proves useful, prototypes will be marketed through OU INC and later patented if needed.