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.

SmartBike

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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.

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.

Mercedes-Benz designs sleek looking surfboard that can track wipeouts and measure rider performance

Board designed for surfer Garrett McNamara, who the car manufacturer sponsors

Man—it sure must be nice to be surfer Garrett McNamara. Just take a look at the boards his sponsor, German carmaker Mercedes-Benz, just finished building for him (they did get a bit of help from ad agency BBDO Portugal).

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The surfboard was custom-built for McNamara, and features a pretty nifty integrated telemetry system that measures the rider’s performance and reports the data back to him once he’s got his feet back on the sand of the beach.

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The “Silver Arrow of the Sea”, as it is being referred to, features a special design that matches McNamara’s unique riding style, and provides him with better handling for when he’s on one of his more aggressive runs.

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To watch McNamara ride the waves of North Canyon on his new Benz-board, check out the video below.

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Pillow is part cushion, all alarm clock

Smart piece of sleep technology coming out of Sony

Love me some smart thinking like this — Sony has just received a patent for a high-tech pillow that just might help sleepyheads everywhere wake up feeling like they’ve had the best sleep of their lives . . . every morning.

Deep sleep

The idea is this — the pillow is embedded with a small actigraph that monitors the sleep patterns of the user. For those unfamiliar with the technology, actigraphy is a non-invasive approach to continually monitoring and recording movements. The point of including it in a pillow is to record a person’s sleep patterns to the point that it can tell if the sleeper is in REM sleep or is otherwise awake.

Sony High Tech Pillow Alarm Clock

So what’s the point? To give users the ability to set the alarm and be gently woken up not at an exact time, but rather at the most optimal time. You see, when someone’s woken up from a deep sleep, it can leave the person feeling tired and pretty groggy . . . that is, unless your alarm clock is hooked up through your loud-ass portable speaker. Then you just wet the bed when you wake up.

A bit more specifically, the pillow tracks the users brainwaves to make sure that the person is being woken up only AFTER they leave REM sleep. From the patent:

The present application relates to a sleep aid device and method, program and recording medium, and more particularly, to a sleep aid device and method, program and recording medium for having a short sleep efficiently.

No word yet on how much it’ll cost or when it’s coming out.

Umbrella-less umbrella repels rain with air

Amazing concept from Japanese designers

As the makers of the world’s most innovative new portable speaker, we have a certain appreciation for new electronics and technologies that go outside the box with their approach. Take, for instance, this new gadget created by designers Je Sung Park and Woo Jung Kwon—it’s an umbrella that consists of a handle and nothing else.

Air Umbrella being used

Aptly referred to as the “Air Umbrella”, it’s a relatively simple device that takes air in through the bottom of the controller and shoots it out at the top to create, more or less, a curtain of air that repels rain.

Child holding Air Umbrella

Depending upon the severity of the rain, the strength of the air curtain can be adjusted. Also, the handle itself can be retracted, so it fits nice and easy in any old bag or pocket.

How to use the Air Umbrella

Love this stuff!