There comes a time every year where the darkness comes earlier and earlier, it gets colder and drivers may not expect to see a cyclist on the road. If you’re a commuter, it’s time to pay attention to making yourself safe on the road. Fortunately, there are several new smaller companies starting up to help make your commute better, and some of the products and ideas are really, really good…
Posts in the category Gadgets
Sometimes it takes someone from outside an industry to come up with something revolutionary. When it comes to wearable data collection, BeBop’s entry into the world of flexible smart sensors stems from their experience with musical instruments. Keith McMillen is the founder of KMI, an instrument company out of Berkeley, CA that specializes in MIDI controllers and keyboards that have already been using a similar fabric sensor for years.
“BeBop is a natural step for KMI, where we have diligently tuned fabrics, geometries, and production processes allowing us to ship over 1 million sensors to some of the most demanding musicians in the world,” said Keith McMillen, Founder, KMI and BeBop Sensors. “All musical instruments are essentially sensors with forms of acoustic processing attached. The same care and creativity used to build our instruments will serve well for our non-musical customers as we expand into the wearables market.”
Now with over 1 million of the sensors in current use, Keith is taking his sensor and eyeing a new market – anything that can be worn. Unlike any of the sensors currently on the market, the BeBop sensor uses a proprietary and patented monolithic design that is capable of measuring all components of movement including bend, location, motion, rotation, angle, torque. In addition to monitoring various physical vitals the sensors can also be used as wearable controllers for smart phones. Answer calls, change tracks, volume, etc. all while the phone remains in your pocket.
Obviously the sensor is just the beginning as it will take clothing manufacturers integrating it into their products for it to be really useful. But what are the possibilities? Try on a few after the break…
We’re not even trying to make up some reason why this is related to bikes, but it’s just too damn cool not to post. Yes, it’s a real, live, working hover board, and it’s already blown past its funding goal on Kickstarter by about 50%, and it’s just getting started.
Check the video, then float past the break for a bit of the science…
The Sport Pulse Wireless ear buds from Jabra are wireless, have premium sound and other features similar to other high-end ear buds. But these can actually measure your heart rate through the ear buds, and transmit that information back to your phone, for use in their tracking app.
Measuring heart rate has been traditionally done through a chest strap, but new wireless technologies are starting to change that, and very fast. Also in ear phones, SMS Audio can do the same thing, and Lifebeam can measure from your helmet. Jabra promises more than just measuring the heart and playing music…
Known for their bright green trainers, Kinetic is beefing up the digital side of their business with an all new consumer website and redeveloped inRide App. Designed to help consumers get the most from their trainers or find the right model to fit their needs, the new page makes it easier to find product info, technical documents, training advice, videos and more.
Also on the electronic side, the company has revamped their inRide power-meter application designed to work with any of their trainers. The system includes bluetooth sensors for speed and cadence as well as heart rate which communicate through the improved app for iOS devices.
As a way to get the word out about their new website and reworked inRide app, Kinetic is running the 30 Days of inRide contest where they will give away an inRide bundle every day for 30 days. Follow the instruction here and correctly answer the questions for your chance to win.
Stages Cycling continues to add more options for their single-sided power meter attachment, the latest being models for current FSA road cranksets and the all-new Shimano M9000 XTR group. The latter will be available in January and retail for $899. Since it’s on the non-drive side, it can go on any of the 1x, 2x or 3x setups.
For road, a lot of bikes come spec’d with FSA cranksets, and now you can match them up with either MegaExo (24mm) or BB30 crank arms. Stages offers their power meter mounted to the FSA Energy Alloy non-drive crankarm and the BB30 model will fit any modern BB30 FSA spindle. The MegaExo one will fit current MegaExo carbon cranksets, but only 2014-and-newer alloy models. Their website has full details on the product page. Retail on these is $699.
Their app is also being updated to add a lot more support options and FAQ’s to help get your system set up properly with whatever cycling computer you’re running. More on that, plus a history of their prototypes, below…
While PowerTap may have experimented with insole-based power meters, RPM2 put their foot down and stepped into production.
They make versions for both cycling and running as well as a combo unit for triathlon/multisport use, and the cycling features make it fairly unique among power meter options. Garmin’s recent software update for its Vector pedals added a simple foot pressure balance measurement, showing if you were putting more pressure on the inside or outside edges of the pedal. Presumably, this data let you know if you’re feet could be better centered over the pedal for more efficient power transfer.
RPM2 takes this a step further (or closer?) by measuring both left/right and fore/after pressure, letting you see exactly where your feet are pressing the hardest against your shoe’s sole. This provides more specific and exact data that can be used to correct cleat placement, fit and alignment.
Of course, it also provides standard total power output for each leg, along with cadence and where in your pedal stroke your power is being applied…
The new Livestream iOS app lets you stream video from GoPro HERO cameras live via your iPhone’s 4G cellular data connection, sending the action straight to your friends via a shared link. They’ve also updated the app to let you lock the screen during use, so you can set it streaming then tuck your phone safely inside your pack or pocket.
You’ll need one of the GoPro HERO3 or HERO4 with built in WiFi (or, presumably, the WiFi bacpac for the older models) to connect your phone to the camera’s network, then select the GoPro from the Livestream App’s menu to let it see what your camera’s seeing. Once there, just tell it to go live and anyone with the link you’ve shared can watch your action in real time.
The app will even allow two-way chatting while broadcasting, the ability to post snapshots to the feed and live video filters. As long as you’ve got 4G or LTE signal strength, you should be good to go. Check video of it in action below…
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We’ve all been there…standing astride our bike over the rectangular grooves cut into the asphalt in front of the stop line, hoping beyond hope that we’ll trigger the traffic light to turn green. Sadly, it ain’t gonna happen. Your bike simply doesn’t have the magnetic signature of a two-ton car.
Until now, that is. The Veloloop is a low power transmitter that detects the inductive loop sensors in the ground and transmits a signal similar to what would bounce off a vehicle. That tells the sensor that someone’s waiting for the light, triggering it to change green.
It runs on two AA batteries and should last for more than a year since it only kicks on when it detects the transmitters and when you’ve stopped rolling. There’s even a light to let you know when you’re on top of the sensors…