Smart bike brings turn-by-turn directions to the rider’s handlebars

Connected cycle helps riders keep their eyes on the road

If you’ve ever biked a longer distance, then you know the headache that comes with trying to figure out directions beforehand.

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Either you’ve got to memorize the name of every road and turn, or you’re constantly pulling off on the side of the road to check the map on your phone.

A new “smart” bike on Kickstarter seeks to put an end to this frustration. Referred to as the Vanhawks Valour, this connected cycle has 11 days to go on the web funding site and has already achieved its funding goal five times over.

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The reason why everyone’s throwing money at it is because it’s a pretty damn cool product. Basically, the bike connects to one’s smartphone via mobile app (iOS and Android) / Bluetooth technology, and sends GPS directions directly to the rider’s handlebars, using LEDs to indicate which road to go down. The reason behind this technology? To keep the rider’s eyes on the road, especially during high-traffic commute times.

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The bike can be pre-ordered via Kickstarter for $1,049. That’s the single fixed-gear though – if you want the multi-speed unit, you’ll need to pony up $1,199. Both models are expected to be ready for shipping out in November (just in time for the holiday season).

Also worth noting is that as the bike app becomes familiar with roads and areas traversed, it becomes smarter; that is, it learns where to avoid potholes and suggest safer routes. The bike also includes haptic feedback in the handle bar grips, so when an object is entering a blind spot, the rider is alerted.

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Lastly, the Valour app can also act like a fitness wristband tracker, keeping score of your riding progress by monitoring and logging your activity, including things like distance traveled, time spent riding, and calories burned. The data is sent to a corresponding app where riders can analyze later on and set goals accordingly.

Awesome safety app for cyclists

Real-time tracking app lets family and friends track rider en route

There are a million apps out there for today’s cyclist to peruse, but one in particular just came out, and is definitely worth sharing. “RoadID” is what it’s called, and while you might’ve heard that name before, its latest iteration is worth sharing because it can be used as a means of letting friends and family track a cyclist’s progress in real time.

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What’s more, if the cyclist stops moving for more than five minutes, a notification is sent to that friend / family member, alerting them that the rider might be in trouble.

Also worth noting, the app has a lock screen that displays all vital information about the cyclist for first responders to review when they arrive at the scene (hopefully it never has to be used). Information displayed includes the user’s name, city and state, three emergency contacts, and important medical information (e.g. allergies, medical history, blood type, etc.)

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Obviously, the app can be used for other activities like running, walking, or hiking — basically anything you can take your Bluetooth portable speaker with you. The way the user’s friends and family members can view the status of the cyclist / road warrior is via link, which can be sent by email or text prior to hitting the road.

Beyond emergency situations, the app also makes it easy for riders to track each other down for a meet-up on long rides. So it’s not all doom-and-gloom—it can also be used for on-the-fly get-togethers.

RoadID is free, and can be downloaded via the Apple store.

Motorola wants to tattoo a smartphone microphone onto your throat!

Company takes hands-free concept to the extreme

In order to reduce the amount of background noise that often gets picked up when using hands-free calling, Motorola has come up with the super extreme solution of tattooing a smartphone microphone into a user’s neck.

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Hack a Boombot, win a prize!

New contest from leading portable speaker manufacturer has some pretty amazing awards

Have a cool sound making gadget idea?

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Now’s your chance to get it out there for the world to see. Boombotix is sponsoring a kick-ass contest challenging its fans to engineer their own sound making gadget for a chance to win cash and, of course, the company’s Ultraportable Speakers.

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The contest has been up for only a little bit now but there are already tons of awesome entries, including home-made speakers and amps to some pretty dope-ass wireless stereo projects.

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Contestants who enter will have access to Boombotix electronics for their platform at a contestant discount. This applies to the full line of speakers, whether it’s Bluetooth or auxiliary. All the folks at Boombotix want is to find the coolest sound blaster the world has to offer (not asking for much here, are we)?

On the fence about entering? Check out this line of prizes:
One Grand Prize winner will receive:
• a $250 Amazon gift card
• a Boombot REX Pitch Black wireless speaker
• and an Instructables prize pack including a robot t-shirt.

Three First Prize winners will receive:
• choice of any 1 Boombot1 wired speaker
• choice of any 1 Boombot2 wireless speaker
• and an Instructables prize pack including a robot t-shirt.

Five Second Prize winners will receive:
• choice of a Boombot1 wired speaker
• Instructables prize pack (includes robot t-shirt)

Multiple entries are accepted, but each entrant can only win one prize. To enter, just go to instructables.com

JamStik mini guitar connects to iOS devices to teach noobs how to play instrument

MIDI device uses real strings to teach new musicians how to fret and strum

If you haven’t heard of the JamStik yet, chances are you will in the coming months. It’s a 15-inch MIDI device (short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface), and it includes actual strings on it to teach aspiring guitarists everywhere how to fret, strum, and more via their iOS device.

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Like our ultra-portable speakers, JamStik can go anywhere with you. It connects to iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad and outputs a MIDI signal that can be used in a battery of audio programs, from Garage Band to Sunrizer. The device is super simple to use — it teaches users how to play guitar by following their hands as they fret and showing if the user’s hand position is correct or not on the device itself.

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What’s really cool about JamStik is that once you get good enough to play some songs, since it’s being run through the iOS device, you can actually rock out through one of our Bluetooth speakers to project a deeper, more clear sound — and all without attaching a single wire (unlike the picture above which unfortunately features a Beats Pill speaker)!

Here’s a more in-depth description of the device from the group’s indiegogo site:

The JamStik is a portable digital guitar that connects to your iPad or iPhone! We use light to scan your fingers as you press REAL STRINGS to REAL FRETS and use REAL PICKING technique to play, then send that information over to your device in real time to take some of the frustration out of learning to play and put some fun back in!

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See the JamStik in action:

JamStik has already surpassed their $100,000 goal on virtual crowd funding site indiegogo. What do you think — the real deal or much ado about nothing?