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Japan is making bike-sharing a thing

A carrier in the country is making a system that would let you book GPS-equipped bikes and drop them off almost anywhere when you're done.

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SEEBRUCK, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 29: Two biker cycle in front of the Chiemsee lake and Bavarian mountains on November 29, 2011 near Seebruck, Germany. A drought in Germany in November has sent water levels in several lakes and rivers to dangerous lows. (Photo by Diether Endlicher/Getty Images)
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If you've ever tossed around the idea for an app with friends, the phrase "like Uber, but different" has probably come up. Well, a new platform from Japan is like Uber, but different enough to be interesting.

Softbank, a carrier in Japan, wants to make bike-sharing a thing. It's making an Internet of Things-based system that makes renting a bike to nip about town incredibly easy, reports Nikkei Technology.

You'll hire and pay for bicycles through an app. From there, you'll be able to pick up a two-wheeler from one of many bike stations the company will set up around the country. When you're done, the bike will need to be returned to a station. Any station, not necessarily the one you got it from.

Each bicycle will be equipped with a smart lock, according to the publication, which has an in-built GPS and can communicate with your phone.

There are over 70 million bicycles in Japan, though they're generally used for recreation rather than daily commuting. A system like this would likely go over swell in Europe, home to most of the world's most bike-friendly countries, says the Copenhagen­ize Design Company.