Andrew Leinonen has a passion for bikes and recently created a locking design that goes beyond our commonplace perception of what a bike lock is and how it should work. Andrew's inspiration was trying to solve the "endemic problem" of bike theft in Toronto. His StayLocked bicycle is a working concept that has yet to be proven as a real product but breaks the mold by making a part of the bike do double-duty as a bike lock. If a thief tries to break the lock, they also make the bike unridable.
Putting my mind to the endemic problem of urban bike theft, I realized that in a big city like Toronto or NYC, any lock (no matter how bulky or heavy) can only serve as a deterrant for a determined thief with the right tools. This challenge was the inspiration for the StayLocked bike, a design that integrates the lock directly into the frame. The bike's seatstays have been replaced with a U-lock on a pivoting joint. This is a 'scorched earth' approach; any thief that breaks the lock breaks the bike as well, rendering it unrideable and without value.
When riding the bike, the U-lock shackle is securely clamped into the rear triangle, but when the rider wants to lock up the bike, they simply unlock the shackle, swivel it into place around the post (or whatever) they are locking to, and slide on the lock body, as with a standard U-lock. Using the lock is instantly familiar, and doesn't require that riders change their behaviour or carry anything with them besides a key. It even saves weight, since you don't need to bring a heavy lock or chain with you (and a rack or bag to carry it with).
Andrew figures the only compromise made in his design is the "unconventional brake layout" for the rear triangle. Yet, he claims that "discs, drums, coaster brakes, or chainstay mounted rim brakes like mini-Vs or U-brakes should all work fine."
Some things that I would think Andrew will need to figure out is if lock can lock to most posts similar to U locks; if there's a way for people to lock up their wheels as well, if the frame can stand up to long-time use; and if people are willing to use such a lock on a regular basis.
I think it's cool that cycling is becoming popular enough that people are working hard to solve practical issues such as bike theft. Who knows if Andrew's design will work for everyone but it's definitely something to consider and to use for further improvements. Perhaps Andrew will even get the idea funded on something like Kickstarter, which has been known to fund other bike design projects.
Just the simple idea of making a bike unworkable if someone tries to break the lock is a great. Could be a real deterrent (so long as the thief knows they are breaking the bike too.