from the pedal-power dept
This week, for the cyclists out there, we've got a pair of new crowdfunded devices that aim to enhance your experience on your bike — then after that, we've got a shameless plug for the new Techdirt t-shirt.
Blubel is a navigation system that has been simplified and redesigned specifically for cyclists, wrapped up inside a bicycle bell that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Instead of a full map-based system, Blubel boils navigation down to a straightforward directional indicator: as you ride, the ring of LEDs on the bell shift to alert you to turns and point you in the right direction. But it's also an actual bell, and what's more, every time you ring it the whole system gets smarter. Since most navigation systems are tailored for drivers first and foremost, bell rings from all Blubel users are recorded as waypoints in a shared map algorithm and used to calculate smarter cycling routes throughout the area, resulting in a community-driven navigation database. The associated app lets you plan routes and set destinations, and it also records data and gives you access to lots of metrics about your ride, much like a fitness app.
While Blubel wraps navigation tools in a bell, CLASSON wraps indication and safety tools (and some navigation assistance) in a helmet. The CLASSON helmet contains cameras which can record your ride like a dashcam or a GoPro, but that's not their primary function: they are hooked into a smart system that offers a variety of features. First, it monitors your blindspots, and activates subtle visual indicators on the helmet's visor to let you know when a car is approaching to your side — a huge boon for cyclists in busy urban environments. Next, they monitor your arm movements to translate physical turn signals into blinking turn indicator lights on the helmet, and it can detect deceleration to activate a brake light — a huge boon for night-time cyclists. Plus, similar to the Blubel, it can guide you to destinations chosen on the associated app using a simple directional indicator system also built into the visor.
P.S. Check out the latest t-shirt from Techdirt!
Yesterday, we launched a new t-shirt on Teespring, available only for a limited time!
This spin on the infamous 80s anti-piracy campaign is only available until July 4th, so get yours today (it's also available as a women's tee and a hoodie).