Bike computers are certainly practical for more serious cyclists who are looking to gain an edge wherever they can. But most of us don't need fancy fitness or altitude data to get from A to B. French startup Asphalt Labs has developed a gesture-controlled ride assistant that brings some basic but useful functions, like navigation and call alerts, to the handlebars of commuters.
After installing a mount on a bike's handlebars, Haiku can be clipped into place and held in position with magnets that are claimed to be strong enough to prevent the device from bouncing out when riding over bumpy terrain. From here it communicates with a paired smartphone over Bluetooth 4.0, pulling data for turn-by-turn navigation, message and call alerts, along with displaying speed.
They screen remains blank while in standby mode, but an LED along the left edge changes in color to indicate what information can be accessed. A small wave with a hand or finger will bring up the bike computer when the light is green, while blue represents a call or message alert. Yellow will pull up the ongoing navigation, though this also pops up automatically when within 100 m (109 yards) of a turn.
You will need to enter your destination in your smartphone before hopping aboard for the navigation to work, but from there small arrows will be displayed to guide you through the streets. It is possible to configure Haiku to upload your rides to Strava, and it also works with Google Fit and Apple's HealthKit. The casing is also claimed to be rated IP65 weatherproof, so it won't be affected by rain.
The computer is charged via Micro USB, with each charge providing 12 hours of use. It is compatible with the iPhone 4s or later, and the Samsung S3, Motorola G and the Nexus 5 or later.
The company has turned to Kickstarter to raise funds and bring Haiku to market. Pledges of €70 (US$78) are available at the time of writing, with shipping slated for May 2016 if all goes to plan.