How WheelKeep team turns their idea into business project

31.10.2019

One of the projects of Noosphere Engineering School - WheelKeep, is a device, hidden in the bike frame and performing the functions of “smart” alarm and GPS tracker. If somebody pushes, scratches or tries to steal a bike, the device will immediately notify the owner about it via a message to the smartphone.

WheelKeep project was invented by Pavel – the first-year student of Physics, Electronics and Computer Systems of Oles Honchar Dnipro National University. The idea appeared when Pavel and his friends rode their bikes and decided to get something to eat. The team did not venture to leave the bikes unsupervised and, as a result, remained hungry. 

Modern bikes are not cheap. Sometimes, it is not enough for the owner’s peace to have a simple antitheft rope or lock. Therefore, Pavel got the idea to equip bike with the device capable of online monitoring of its location as well as what is going on with the bike.   

First of all, our guy started surveying whether the market has any offers in this area. It turned out that nothing like this can be found in free access. Pavel tells about market survey, “Yes, there are smart antitheft systems, but they are based on wheels locking-up, mounted outside the frame and inconvenient in service. Moreover, in case of stealing, this device is demounted that makes search for the bike almost impossible. As for WheelKeep, it is safely hidden in the frame. Firstly, it enables preventing stealing of the bike, because the signal of any unauthorized actions immediately comes in the form of message to the owner. Secondly, a thief, even if he manages to steal bike, will not be aware that he is being followed by GPS tracker. I have found the devices, similar to the WheelKeep, but one of them affects the structural integrity of the bike and has a constrained functional, does not meet the requirements of a modern user; and the other one was withdrawn from sale due to multiple bugs.”

Having found that his invention is able to make life easier for many cyclists, the student came with his idea to the Dnipro Laboratory of Noosphere Engineering School. The school’s experts became very interested in this project. In particular, it interested one of the mentors Sergey Poslavskiy, who is also an avid cyclist. As a result, he became a mentor of the project team. Having obtained the financial support of #NESDnipro, Pavel began his work. 

A smart idea easily attracts people. For five months, the team of WheelKeep startup has grown from one Pavel to five people. The guys, who were the author’s friends riding their bikes when he came up with an idea of WheelKeep, have entered the team. 

Sergey Poslavskiy as a leading specialist in positioning systems at NESDnipro, helped the team to structure the idea and find out how it can be implemented technologically, and what is needed to develop prototype within the framework of the Proof of concept – the pilot sample, proving the viability of the idea. 

He also provided assistance in distribution of responsibilities in the team according to the skills and capabilities. Taking into account that WheelKeep is their first large project, Sergey’s mentorship was needed almost at every stage of their work, from how it is better to build the case and what electronic components to choose, to the assistance in writing the firmware and backend.

The full team, consisting of Pavel, his friends Roman and German from the Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Yegor from the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics, has written a complex of software – firmware of the device, back-end and web-client for browser. Ivan, the only team member who has a real work experience as mobile developer, has undertaken the development of mobile application. The author’s groupmate Alexander works on development of electronics and case of the device – one of the key elements of the project. 

For five months of work on the project, the team has developed and built the operating Proof – prototype of the device. Its dimensions considerably exceed the required ones, and now Pavel’s team is creating a version of the required size for integration into the frame.

In the nearest future, the team of WheelKeep is going to equip the device with wireless charger. This will make the charging process more user-friendly and will eliminate the need to extract the device in order to charge it. For this purpose, they need to solve the problem how to put additional wireless charging elements into a quite small device. 

The guys also plan to launch their project on Kickstarter.

Finally, the service of already implemented startup of NESDnipro – MyPol, will be integrated into the mobile application of WheelKeep. This will enable calling the police immediately, without leaving the application. 

My Police project - My Pol – is a mobile application, which enables sending SOS signal in one click, assessing the work of police officers, reporting a complaint or feedback in respect of specific police officer, reading news or finding the nearest office on the interactive map. The idea of this application belongs to Dmitriy Podvorchanskiy, who came with it to Noosphere Engineering School in 2016, got support, recruited a team from the school’s students, and successfully implemented its project. Now, My Pol is a stand-alone project, and their mobile application will soon be available throughout Ukraine.