Amid the rush to create new modes of transportation and launching apps to augment existing modes of transport, an opportunity to enhance a simple yet efficient vehicle, the bicycle, has mostly been missing — until now.
The SmartHalo attaches to the handlebars of any normal bicycle and, once paired with your smartphone, acts as a visual navigation guide, complete with turn-by-turn signaling.
Yes, there are a number of ways you can use your smartphone to navigate a bike trip now, but they mostly consist of checking your handset or smartwatch, both potentially dangerous activities while steering a bike down city streets.
What SmartHalo does is provide a dead simple green lighting prompt, connected via Bluetooth to the app on your smartphone, allowing you to keep the handset in your pocket as you follow the color-coded navigation guides on the device. Simply input your destination into the device’s associated app, and SmartHalo will take over from there.
When you’re about to turn, the signal beams a white and green warning, and when you’ve traveled in the wrong direction you’ll get a red flashing prompt. Another lighting feature also notifies you when you get a phone call.
In addition to serving as a visual guide, the device also connects with the smartphone app to provide biking statistics, including distance traveled, average speed and calories burned.
Anytime you’re away from your SmartHalo-equipped bike, you can still track its location on a map via the app. And the weather-resistant device even includes an alarm in case thieves attempt to remove it from your bike.
Finally, the device also automatically detects nightfall, at which point it turns on a front-mounted headlamp. And when you stop the bike and dismount, the light turns itself off. With all that lighting up, it might seem like you’d need to recharge the device daily, but the creators of the SmartHalo claim that its battery will last up to three weeks.
SmartHalo, which will retail for $149, is available for $99 for early adopters via a Kickstarter campaign that has already reached $39,000 of its $50,000 goal. If you sign up to smarten your bike up, the makers promise to get the device to you by May of 2016.