We've already seen both complete bicycles and aftermarket handlebars that provide cyclists with navigational cues. Now, Boréal Bikes is reducing things further still, with a set of handlebar grips that serve the same purpose. The company's smrtGRiPS can be added to an existing flat handlebar, from which point they will proceed to tell the cyclist where to go.
Technically-speaking, the actual grips themselves are just regular pieces of rubber. Each one, however, is paired up with a waterproof cylindrical "core" that goes inside the handlebar tube. Among other things, those units include onboard electronic components such as a 3.7-volt 700-mAh rechargeable battery, a Bluetooth module, and a vibrating motor.
Communicating wirelessly with an app on the user's paired iOS or Android smartphone, one or the other of the grips will vibrate when a left or right turn is required. One charge of the batteries via USB should be good for about three months of use.
Should a user's bike be stolen, the app network can be used to search for it. Once the bike has gone missing, its grips will be detected by any app-user that comes within 100 m (330 ft) of it. An alert showing that location will be sent to the owner, letting them know approximately where to look.
Once they get there, they can then zero in on its exact whereabouts using a distance indicator display on the app. Additionally, they can send a signal to the bike, causing the grips to produce an audible ringing alert. Owners can also use this feature if they simply forget exactly where they parked.
Boréal Bikes is currently raising production funds for the smrtGRiPS, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$59 will get you a pair, when and if they're ready to go. More information is available in the pitch video below.
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