Driverless Bikes Are Now A Thing Too

The term driverless isn’t anything new and it is probably most known in relation to cars and Google’s self-driving car project that’s been going on for years now. But we’ve also heard of driverless lorries coming to the UK, driverless pods in London, and even driverless Formula E racing as well as oversized quad-copters for personal usage, but driverless bicycles is one I haven’t heard of before.

The driverless bike, or i-Bike as it has been named, is the brainchild of Ayush Pandey and Subhamoy Mahajan, two students from IIT Kharagpur, India. The whole idea started with an idea that is as noble as the result is brilliant: The two wanted to build a simple vehicle that could help disabled people get more out of life by increasing their freedom. Now that’s an idea we all can get behind.

The i-Bike has autonomous steering, brakes, driving, and balancing mechanisms that can work completely on their own as well as aids to just help you with the part that might be troublesome for you.

Just riding a bicycle wasn’t the only problem the students tried to solve, parking and retrieving a bike can be equally challenging for a disabled person as bicycle locations by default rarely have much in disability friendliness. You wouldn’t expect them to ride a bicycle, so it isn’t out of bad intentions.

“We saw some differently abled people who could ride bicycles but had to face many problems when trying to take their bikes out from the parking space, as most such spaces are not disabled friendly. To tackle this problem we started working to make a bicycle that would be controlled wirelessly,” says Ayush, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student

You can ride the i-Bike manually or you can get help from the dual locomotion technology. The autonomous driving is handled with the help of GPS as well as lasers and sonar based sensors to avoid obstacles in its path. The destination is set by an Android app that sends an SMS to the i-Bike. Upon receiving this, it will start its journey.

None of the techniques used is new as such, but this combination of them is awesome. It has a unique and affordable software architecture that enables it to follow specialised bicycle lanes as they are found in many countries already. It also offers live tracking and wireless control mechanism on top of all that.

What started as a team of two is now comprised of 13 undergraduate students from various departments of IIT Kharagpur, all working together and making up the i-Bike team. Since the project was started back in October 2014, the team has won several awards, most recently the innovation challenge organised by KPIT Technologies where they won first prize.

The trainer wheels that have been used for balancing can easily be retracted by a switch and the same goes for the steering aids that also can be turned on and off by the flick of a switch.

The i-Bike could solve many problems in urban cities and crowded spaces. Whether you want to prevent theft by sending you bike home, retrieve it where ever you are in order to get home, or just want to send it on a cruise of its own, the i-Bike can do it. It would also allow new options for bicycle sharing centres where you could rent a bike, drive where you need to go, and then send it back home again on its own. The same way you could order it back via your smartphone no matter where you are located, and you won’t even have to pedal yourself.

Once the team has the patent, they plan to collaborate with companies willing to start bicycle sharing centres in India – and hopefully this kind of technology will make it to the rest of the world too.

LIVALL Bling Is the First Smart Cycling Helmet

It is almost weird that this hasn’t been done before. While there have been attempts, no one has come close to what the new LIVALL Bling smart cycling helmet can do. It is the first smart helmet, but it is also a lot more. When you look at what you get, you’ll quickly notice why it already has been funded close to six times.

The campaign is running on Indiegogo where the goal was set to $20,000. At the time of writing, the campaign already raised $115.672 by 788 people, nearly six times the asked amount. Not only is it a great product with a very fair pricing, it’s also a product that is ready, all the way through. All that is needed now is the start-up money to get a mass production running.

So what is it that makes the LIVALL Bling helmet so smart. It comes with bright LEDs all over the top that make you stand out in traffic, both at day and night. You are the weak contender on the road and need the best safety. It has turn-signals, a 3-axis G-sensor, and Bluetooth connection for speakers and smartphone connection as well as a windbreak microphone. You can answer your phone or listen to music over this feature, and you can also use the built-in walkie-talkie function for a direct communication with your fellow riders that also use the helmet. The 3-axis G-sensor can detect when you’ve crashed and don’t get up again. It will start to flash the LEDs to signal passing folks of your presence as well as notify a previous set contact about your crash.

There are two more items, possibly three, that you’ll want to go along with your new smart cycling helmet. The first is the Bling Jet, a small controller meant to be mounted on the handlebar for easy finger control of everything.

The second is the LIVALL Nano Cadence Sensor, the smallest cadence sensor in the world. When coupled with the LIVALL Riding App on your smartphone, it can show speed, traveled distance and burned calories as well as slope rate, altitude, and heart rate when you connect designated extension devices to your phone. The third item you might want is the phone holder. It mounts easily on your handlebar just as the Jet does and can securely hold your phone while you ride. It also comes with a convenient 5000mAh battery pack for on-the-go charging or longer rides.

The LIVALL Riding App is where it all connects and allows you to control and manage everything. It looks like an awesome product that I have no doubt will get just as popular once launched to the masses as it was in the Indiegogo campaign. There are still 32 days to go, so time left to get your own LIVALL Bling helmet. All available packs, including the $100 early bird, are still available.

Innovative New Folding Bike Helmet Set For Launch This Spring

Closca has announced its new Fuga helmet that folds down into a smaller size for easy storage. The helmet is made of three shell parts that can collapse down and still remain safe when worn as a helmet.

Closca has stated that the new Fuga helmet has already passed certification testing in Europe, Canada, and the US. The helmet is made up of polystyrene and polycarbonate which are common in bike helmets. The innovative new design of the Fuga has won the Red Dot Design Award 2015. Another feature that you don’t see every day in helmets is that this one is NFC connected, though it is not clear on the specifics of that. The helmet is available for pre-order for $75 and will ship later this spring.

Smartphone, Smartwatch… Smart Pedal?

CES has given us yet another ‘smart’ device. Earlier today everyone was talking about a smart belt, but now it’s all about the smart pedal. Yes, you heard me correctly, a smart pedal, for your bicycle.

The Connected Cycle pedal acts as a tracking device for your bike. That can mean tracking of the bike itself and of course fitness tracking. The pedal can be used to track down your bike if it’s stolen for example and it can also be used for things like tracking distances and producing fitness data via its companion iOS app.

On the security side of things, a push notification can be sent to your phone if your bike is moved from its last location and it can track it from there. For fitness, the pedal records things like speed, incline and distance and can produce useful data like calories burnt thanks to your cycling.

The pedal doesn’t require charging thankfully, as it apparently produces its own energy from the movement it’s subjected to. It also helpfully comes with a second identical dummy pedal, that can match your ‘smart’ one, so you don’t have odd pedals on your bike. The pedals will come in black, red, green, blue, and orange.

Pricing and a release date has not yet been revealed.

Source: MacRumors

Hövding AirBag Helmet, Stylish Yet Extremely Effective

It is always recommended that you wear a bicycle helmet, though many of us do not wear our helmets because they are uncomfortable, every time we go for a ride we put ourselves at risk that can have deadly consequences. It is important that we protect our head, Hövding knows this so they have tested and manufactured a new product that will protect our brain if we were to have an accident while riding a bicycle.

Hövding has been working since 2005 to set “a new standard in Swedish safety”, creating an “Airbag for cyclists”. The company name is also the name of this revolutionary airbag for your skull. At first glance, you wouldn’t notice that this device would be able to save someone’s brain, it is a simple collar that you fit around your neck, though they have come upwith some cool patterns, which are changeable to keep it looking bland.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GugsCdLHm-Q[/youtube]

Some facts, the Hövding are possibly the safest bicycle helmet that you could wear, and it is not even a helmet! This device complies with the requirements for a cycle helmet given by the EU Directive on Personal Protective Equipment. Providing more than three times better shock absorption of any other helmet they have tested.

The Hövding has censors that monitor the cyclists movements when it is turned on, and is able to tell if it needs to be inflated and inflate protecting the user in a tenth of a second, protecting the users skull and brain from a harmful impact.

Though I don’t feel that you can really put a price on safety, if you want to use the Hövding, you will be paying a pricetag of around 399 Euros! If you need to be stylish while you are riding your bicycle then maybe this is the device for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about Hövding, make sure you check out their website, Hovding.com