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.

Asus Unveils Trio of Strix Sound Cards

Asus has announced three dedicated PCI-E sound cards which output 7.1-channel surround sound and 192kHz/24-bit audio. The Strix Raid DLX, Strix Raid Pro and Strix Soar feature Perfect Voice noise cancellation to enhance the immersion factor during tense, atmospheric games. Asus’ flagship card is the Strix Raid DLX which utilizes a ESS SABRE9016 digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and provides the world’s leading performance 32-bit and 24-bit audio. Furthermore, the Strix Raid DLX is capable of an incredible 123dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

The Strix Raid Pro and Strix Soar focus on the gaming market and include a ESS SABRE9006A DAC for pure, full-sounding audio with an impressive 116dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Low-dropout (LDO) regulators and Hi-Fi-grade Nichicon FineGold, Nichicon Muse, and German WIMA capacitors ensure optimized power delivery. All 3 models contain an integrated 600-ohm headphone amplifier to enhance the audio production in high-end equipment. Here is a complete rundown of the software package:

Instant in-game audio adjustment with Raid Mode
Strix Raid Mode lets gamers with Strix Raid DLX and Strix Raid Pro sound cards save their favorite audio adjustments into custom presets that they can instantly turn on or off with the dedicated Raid button on the included soundcard audio control box. This powerful feature ensures gamers will never miss a single moment of gaming action by having to pause their game and open software to adjust their audio settings. The audio control box also has a convenient control knob that lets users adjust the volume and the Raid Mode intensity level, while also doubling as an output-selector button to switch between headphones and speakers.

Simple audio configuration with Sonic Studio
Strix Raid DLX, Strix Raid Pro, and Strix Soar sound cards come with Sonic Studio, the next-generation sound utility from ASUS that provides gamers complete control over their sound card’s audio features. It features a beautiful, intuitive interface that groups a wide range of audio-adjustment functions together logically, making Sonic Studio both powerful and easy to use. Unlike typical audio utilities with multi-screen interfaces that make configuration complicated and time-consuming, Sonic Studio has an elegant all-in-one view that puts all the necessary controls on a single screen to make adjustments fast and easy for users.

The Sonic Studio interface groups key audio controls together based on function, making features easy to find and configuration error-free. The Audio Enhancement group features tools for fine-grained audio control, including an equalizer for adjusting the gain of specific frequencies, Bass Boost for deeper, more pronounced bass, Voice Clarity for making speech stand out more prominently in games and movies, and Compressor to adjust audio dynamic range. The Tuning group lets headphone listeners enable virtual surround-sound and configure the spaciousness of the effect using virtual adjustments of speaker placement and reverb. Finally, the Mic tuning group contains microphone configuration tools and features the Perfect Voice control. Designed for multiplayer gaming where communicating with teammates is especially important, Perfect Voice reduces background noise – such as keyboard and mouse clicks as well as people talking nearby – in speech signals to ensure clear, in-game voice communication.

Sonic Studio also includes controls for Sonic Radar Pro, a unique feature that precisely maps in-game sounds – such as footsteps and gunshots – and displays them on an on-screen overlay, so gamers can pinpoint their enemies for a competitive advantage in first-person shooters.

Do you use a dedicated sound card?

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.