Tokyo's underground bike-storage robots

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38 Responses to “Tokyo's underground bike-storage robots”

  1. I imagine that this is what the Aperture Science Employee Bicycle Storage Service looks like.

  2. signsofrain says:

    My first thought is “What happens if I enter the chamber with my bike?”

  3. Prezombie says:

    I would think that the blank area around shows the extent of the storage, but the space above would be perfect for a kiosk, or having a few of these around a mall.

    What’s confusing to me is why they chose a radial rather than a cubic storage system, it looked like there was a lot of wasted space.

    • The radial is cheaper to build /operate / maintain.  The main mechanism goes up and down a single pole, and rotates into place.  A cubic solution would require lateral movement – more space, but more parts and gears.

    • blearghhh says:

      My impression was that each of those three kiosk things served a single silo, so that amount of space was storage for 600 bikes. I don’t know how much surface area 600 secure bike parking spots would take up, but I would imagine that even if you could cram it into that area, you wouldn’t be able to walk through the area any more.

    • Dave Jenkins says:

      Handlebars means the front of the bike will be wider than the rear, so radial is probably efficient.  Additionally, the mechanics of the robot would be easier on a single rotating axis instead of an X and Y axis for a cube-system.

      On a side note, what’s with the big-boobed anime at the beginning of the video?  Must Japan reduce everything to Otaku?

  4. Petzl says:

    I cannot imagine the number of ways this would, sadly, be incompatible with US cities.

  5. Sylvia says:

    “but inexplicably the area around the robo-ingesters is a blank field of paving bricks of approximately the same area that the bikes would occupy on the surface.”

    Blank fields of bricks are a welcome sight in a crowded city, with lots of pedestrians walking around. I see nothing inexplicable or inefficient about this.

  6. LinkMan says:

    http://boingboing.net/2008/04/23/subterranean-japanes.html

    But glad it’s reposted as the old one seems to be dead.

  7. huskerdont says:

    Oh those wacky pranksters. They mean well, but sometimes they go too far.

    Seriously, I think this probably works in Japan, but if it were here in DC, I’d assume I’d never see my bike again. “We’re sorry, the bicycle you have requested is no longer available.” Maybe I’d get lucky and it’d just come back mangled

    • Kenmrph says:

      If the biggest threat to one’s bike in Tokyo is a prankster, that’s pretty nice.

      • Daemonworks says:

         Pretty much. Low crime rate to begin with, and bikes are about as common (and cheap) as dirt there, so very little incentive. You leave a bike somewhere unlocked, and it’ll probably still be there a week later.

        A friend who forgot to lock his up did have his bike stolen once… but it was returned the next day.

    • Navin_Johnson says:

        Whammy blammy wowee zowee you’ve just been pranked!

      I had a Stifly Stifferson bend my forks when my bike was locked up and I wanted to prank him into a million pieces.

    • says:

      “Prank” is a bad translation of いたずら, or trouble-making. What it actually means in this context is vandalism or theft.

      Bike theft is in fact a serious problem in Japan.

  8. kansas says:

    How muchizzit to park a bike?

  9. But who needs an “underground bike”?

  10. Kevin Pierce says:

    Any rule against chaining your bike to the kiosk?

  11. dculberson says:

    It’s certainly more orderly than the bike parking garage they have in Amsterdam, but I don’t know how it would deal with the volume.

    http://cdn1.vtourist.com/4/2051467-Central_Station_Bicycle_Parking_Amsterdam.jpg

    • ojisan says:

      …and your photo looks just like the piles of bikes I saw outside of most Tokyo stations. In fact all over Tokyo there were bikes locked everywhere, and very often unlocked too! Freaked me out. I’d choose the robo-parking service gladly though if I had a bike in four figures, which is not so uncommon anymore -

  12. ChrisWhiteWrites says:

    They also do this with cars in Tokyo, but they go upward, not underground. 

  13. Brian Thabault says:

    I’ve been practicing underground bike parking for years before it came so mainstream and “automated”

  14. dtobias says:

    It appears to scold the guy in Japanese if he steps past the line while the door to the underground is open.

  15. keeler337 says:

    Basically, if you’re a junkie and want to jack somebody’s bike you look for the little chip in the corner and know that this asshole can totally afford another fucking ride and jack that shit. Way to put a badge on the weiners. 

  16. malindrome says:

    And all watched over by machines of loving grace.

  17. purify_the_body says:

    Cory, you should change the spelling to ‘Shinagawa’, with an ‘A’. The way it’s spelled right now could mean ‘Death River’, which isn’t a very nice name…

  18. lilinski says:

    “… and frees up surface area for better applications, but inexplicably the area around the robo-ingesters is a blank field of paving bricks of approximately the same area that the bikes would occupy on the surface.”

    The video shows the storage space stacks the bikes vertically underneath each machine, rows upon rows, so there are likely more bikes stored on the same square footage area than if they were all up on the same surface.

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