New e-bike connects with your smartphone

Cycle taps the technology resources of a user’s smartphone to make for a better ride

Here’s something you don’t get to write every day — check out this e-bike from Croatia!

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The cycle you see above is the Visiobike, and what makes it so cover-worthy is not that it’s a nifty-looking e-bike, but rather the fact that this nifty-looking e-bike hooks up to one’s smartphone, allowing the rider to use the unique combination of the two to do things like unlock the bike, track one’s speed, or check to see what’s behind the rider using the cycle’s built-in rear camera.

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Now, having the smartphone cradle on the bike’s handlebars obviously impedes on the space allotted for our Bluetooth portable speaker holder, but I suppose we can make a bit of room for this awesome piece of technology.

The Visobike hooks up to the phone via Bluetooth technology, and it’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices. Along with the aforementioned functions, the phone can also display a GPS map of the rider’s surrounding area, and any sort of fitness tracking program it’s running will see the data sent to a cloud for review later on.

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There’s also automatic accident reporting and emergency alert if the Visiobike detects any sort of impact. As far as security, the bike comes equipped with GPS tracking and a motion sensor, so its owner knows its whereabouts at all times.

The sporty looking, mountain bike-esque Visiobike has a carbon fiber body, enormous 180mm/160mm hydraulic disc brakes, and a SR Suntour fork. Altogether, the thing weighs, 46.3 pounds, which might be a lot for some, but remember – it is an ebike. There are two versions available, with two different motors: one provides 250W and the other 500W of power, with top speed being either 15.5 mph or 31.1 mph.

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Worth noting: the bike doesn’t drive itself. Rather, it’s a pedelec, so the rider needs only to get on and start pedaling like they would with any normal bike. Once they start going up a hill, the motor kicks in, and it feels pretty much the same.

Visiobike’s lithium-ion, 14.5Ah battery lasts for around 62 miles. After it’s been depleted, the rider will need to plug the bike into an outlet, whereupon it’ll recharge in about three hours.

The Visiobike team just launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo, with the goal of raising $245,178. Those interested in owning the bike can get the basic version with the weaker motor for $5,318. The better model (automatic transmission and rear camera included) will cost $6,749.

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.

Floating speaker shows sound waves as it plays

Concept device stimulates the auditory and visual senses

Check out Giorgio Bonaguro and Juan Soriano Blanco’s new audio techno-gadget: the Virtruvio speaker.

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Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing, the spherical speaker features a unique design which allows the user to see the actual sound waves of the music as it’s being played.

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Made of a cubic wooden box, rubber wires in each of the eight corners suspend the speaker in the center. The wires are attached along the diagonals, meaning the speaker — made of either metal or ceramic — gets bounced around by the force of the sound waves generated by the music, thereby giving the user the ability to actually see the sound.

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Virtruvio comes with an auxiliary in-feed, so just about all devices on the market can wire up to it. Right now, though, the speaker’s still in its concept stages, so it won’t be on the market any time soon. Those in the NYC area can check it out later this month at Wanted Design’s Launch Pad.

It’s a cool concept, and certainly a better presentation of sound waves than corn starch vibrating at 30 Hz:

Remote control brake keeps young cyclists safe when biking near busy streets

Nifty gadget is easy to add on to the rear tire of bike

If you’re a parent of a young cyclist, then you’ve probably had – at the very least – half a million heart attacks while watching them ride in the street. To ease the parent’s trouble mind, a group of investors have developed a pretty cool, unique way to control the little biker: a remote-control bike brake.

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Referred to as the “MiniBrake”, this smart little gadget is fitted to the rear of the bike’s frame right above the tire. Its remote control has a range of just a little over 160 feet and when a parent becomes worried that their two-wheeling tot is going too fast or coming too close to an intersection, they simply push the remote control’s button and the MiniBrake clamps down on the tire.

Now while one might envision this brake causing the child to come to a screeching hault, whereupon they’re flipped head over the handlebars, the stopping motion happens over a distance of about 20 inches, so it’s fairly gentle, and gives the rider a chance to put his / her feet on the ground.

Worth noting: if MiniBrake detects the bike is broken or has a flat tire, the brake automatically applies till it gets fixed.

The device’s battery has a couple hours of charge to it, and shuts off when not in use; LEDs indicate how much charge is left, letting the user know when it needs a boost-up.

Right now, the device is on Indiegogo trying to secure funds to go into production. Being the supporters of all things cycling-related, we encourage you to check it out.

Pyro board visualizes song’s beats with dancing flames

Idea based off Reuben’s Tube

What’s cool about the project below is the fact that not only do you get a bit of visual entertainment, you also get some learning in, too.

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Per the science video blog Veritasium, the “Pyro Board” is a demonstration of what happens when sound waves travel through flammable gas set aflame.

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It’s all based on a Rubens’ Tube, which is basically a long tube that’s able to illustrate stationary sound waves (a.k.a.: “standing waves”). In using some songs as the source of the sound waves, the pressure variations caused by the sound waves affect the flow rate of the aforementioned gas from the holes in the pyro board. This results in not on the height of the flame being adjusted per the beat, but the color too, making the board an awesome visual display of a fairly simple project.

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The video runs six and a half minutes long because it goes into how everything works on a bit more of a granular level. If you just want to see some dancing flames, head to the three and a half minute mark.