Bicycles

Bicycle "operating system" gears up for 2017 release

Bicycle "operating system" gea...
Currently still in development, the world's first OpenBike-equipped bike should be available next year
Currently still in development, the world's first OpenBike-equipped bike should be available next year
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Currently still in development, the world's first OpenBike-equipped bike should be available next year
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Currently still in development, the world's first OpenBike-equipped bike should be available next year

The more that technology advances, the greater the variety of electronic gadgets that can be installed on our bikes. Lights are an obvious example, but there are also electronic shifting and suspension systems, along with things like actioncams, phone chargers, and cycling computers. As it stands right now, they're almost all stand-alone items, receiving power independently and sometimes working to cross purposes. Randall Jacobs and Kyle Manna hope to change that, with their OpenBike "connected bicycle ecosystem."

The idea behind OpenBike is that bicycle manufacturers will build the basic network into their bikes, while electronic component manufacturers will likewise make products that are compatible with the system.

Hardware-wise, it features one central battery that powers all of a bike's electronic devices, along with internally-routed electrical wiring running from that battery to key locations, such as the handlebars. This means that when companies are designing OpenBike-compatible components, they won't need to include their own batteries. Likewise, consumers will only have one battery they need to check. That battery can be removed for recharging, although it can also be charged via a dynamo while pedalling.

Additionally, OpenBike will incorporate its own open communications protocol, allowing gadgets from different manufacturers to "talk" to one another. As just one example of how that could work, data such as speed and GPS coordinates could be relayed from a cycling computer to an actioncam, where it would be stamped on the video.

OpenBike will also be able to access its own cloud-based server, providing internet connectivity for all the gadgets that need it. This could greatly facilitate services such as rental bike fleet management, and bike-sharing cooperatives.

Working with Marin Bikes, Jacobs and Manna have already created a prototype bike that demonstrates some of the features that could be accommodated. It includes a headlight, tail lights, turn indicators, a brake light, a phone mount with USB charging, and ambient light sensors that cause the lights to automatically come on as the sun goes down.

A production version of that bike should be available from Marin next year. In the meantime, Randall and Kyle are looking to develop partnerships with other bike makers and electronics manufacturers.

Source: OpenBike via IEEE Spectrum

3 comments
Mel Tisdale
If autonomous vehicles are to succeed, they need to be capable of living on the same road space with bicycles and the like. To do this, they are going to have know where any of them are if overtaking is going to be safely accomplished. Without going into lengthy explanations, there are situations where an autonomous vehicle's sensors would not see a bicycle and thus, thinking the road to be clear overtake into the path of said bicycle. In order to make such a maneuver safe it will be necessary for bicycles to broadcast their location to other road users, for which they will need the electronics and attendant reliable power supply. This makes batteries unsuitable unless they are provided with built in recharging facilities, such as a dynamo.
unklmurray
Then comes the ''Off Grid'''Bicyclist.....''I don't have a ''Smart Phone'' Keep an Eye out for Me!!..........LoL :-)
BiB
To Mel Tisdale's comment. It makes sense to incorporate facility for a rear broad band radar on a bicycle to warn of approaching vehicles and gage the passing clearance distance. Broad band antanae are very low power (less than a watt) and can perform a variety of tasks including communication. But one other useful technology to add to a bike is a tail camera also to keep an eye on vehicles approaching from behind.