Hi there! While we continue tweaking the details on our office chatbot, we've been toggling around with yet another experiment, developing a smart bike. Our tech guys from ElifTech CPD (Cool Projects Department) are ready to introduce a recently created device that can upgrade your bike. Sounds interesting? Then put your helmet on and keep reading!
Bikes may not be the most popular means of transportation yet, but their popularity continues to grow. Today, about 30% of the population of Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands can’t imagine their everyday lives without bikes. Being bike-riders ourselves, we decided to add a bit of gamification to the cycling process. That's how we happened upon the idea to connect smartphones and bikes to track bike rides, monitor their statistics and ensure the safety of each ride. Our solution will also be handy for professional cyclists in analyzing their progress.
What the Market Has to Offer
The growing number of people who choose bikes over other vehicles has naturally affected the market of tracking devices for cyclists. The majority of these devices share the same basic functions of recording the bike's location via Google Maps, while other characteristics make devices stand out.
For example, Spy Tec STI GL300 seems to be a cyclist's go-to choice for tracking. The creators introduced the device as a tracking system for both vehicles and people, aiming to increase safety. However, it requires an Internet connection and forking over a monthly fee.
Trackmate Mini 3G H is another popular tool used for bike tracking. The device is water- and dustproof and provides real-life tracking, meaning it can signal the bike's location when the owner is not around. Once again, safety and security seem to be the top priority.
When we started working on our own idea for smart bike tracking, we knew similar devices existed. But each of them felt like a compromise. Yes, there are oodles of smart watches that help you keep track of your cycling activities, but they don’t connect you to the bike. Also, we wanted to make our own contribution to the IoT ecosystem and create a smart device specifically for cyclists. We wanted to make the experience engaging and personalized, all while improving user safety at the same time.
We did our mother’s proud, and worked pretty hard on implementing this idea. We had to overcome some hardware and software challenges, and, finally, at long last here it is:
Our MVP app works together with a wireless device attached to your bike, making it technologically advanced. Plus, your rides get more insightful and therefore fun. Seriously, who doesn’t like fun?
First, let’s look at the device. We made it:
- Easy to attach/detach from a bike
- With a status indication
- Up to 30 hours of battery life
Not too shabby, we must say.
We wanted to make a truly universal solution that would fit all kinds of users. With that in mind when creating the app, we aimed at both Android and iOS platforms. Let’s look at the screens for the functions of our Cycomputer app.
- Connect. This is the greeting tab. It shows if the smartphone is connected to the Cycomputer hardware device or not. If you tap the Scan and Connect button, the smartphone will scan available devices nearby and connect to your Cycomputer hardware device via Bluetooth automatically.
- Activity. This tab shows the location on the map, the speed and the duration of the ride. The interface is pretty self-explanatory: clicking the Start button launches the tracker. The Pause button allows the user to stop and continue the tracking without losing data. Tapping the Finish button ends the ride. The details of each ride are displayed and stored in the log.
- History. This tab shows a short summary of all the records.
- Ride Statistics. This is the screenshot of the user's log that contains detailed records of a finished ride.
- Settings. We wanted to make sure that the app is intuitive and customizable. That’s why our Settings tab has so many personalization options:
- Device name. Allows changing the name of the connected device.
- Units of measure. Users can select their preferable units of speed, distance and elevation indicators.
- Body parameters. Users fill in their weight and height to help make the calorie count more accurate.
- Color theme. Users can choose day or night mode for the app’s layout.