Dashboard is to cars as BeeLine is to bikes.
In today’s environmentally conscious society, cycling has become the main mode of transportation for many city dwellers. This method has also proven to be a faster way to get to-and-from work, compared to rush hour traffic and crowded buses. However, there are some downsides that come with biking, such as getting lost, stopping regularly to find directions on your phone, and the unfortunate, yet very possible occurrence of getting struck by a vehicle amid the hustle and bustle. Cyclists already do our environment a favor by reducing emissions, so why shouldn’t cyclists have a safer and easier commute? Two London-based cyclists return the favor with BeeLine, a smart and affordable navigation device for bicycles.
Mark Jenner and Tom Putnam, the brains behind the navigation unit, came up with the idea when they planned to meet up for lunch, only for both to get lost on their bikes. And so, the duo decided to create BeeLine to make riding fun and stress-free. The wristwatch-sized device works quite similarly to a compass. Instead of pointing you north, BeeLine navigates you in the general direction of your destination, while also noting the distance to go. This “stripped back” concept of navigation allows for a safer and more engaged journey. It only requires a quick glance for directions, leaving you free to focus on the road and not looking for street names.
BeeLine’s setup is as effortless as its way of navigating. The gadget simply snaps onto your bike’s handlebar, and only requires the use of your smartphone to select the destination in its accompanying mobile app prior to heading out. You can save frequently used destinations for a one tap service, too. From then on, you won’t ever have to stop to find directions on your phone.
BeeLine’s capabilities extend well beyond navigation as well. It can show you your speed and distance traveled, or act as a clock. Think of it as a sleek dashboard for your bike. When it’s not in use, the innovative design protects the screen and enables you to attach it to your keys or throw it in your bag or pocket.
Since bikes come in many shapes and sizes, BeeLine boasts a one-size-fits-all silicone strap that can go around any stem or handlebar. Its backlit e-paper display is visible under any conditions, and its tough casing makes it weather and shock proof. Housed within the BeeLine lies an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E at its core, along with an accelerometer, digital compass, gyro, and a microUSB rechargeable battery that can run for a few months. This ultra low-powered unit harnesses the power of your phone, thus cutting down its costs and making it an affordable asset to your bike. (It should be noted that for its prototyping stage, the team used an Arduino and a Proto Shield connected to an Android phone.)
Ready to buzz through your commute? Head over to BeeLine’s Kickstarter campaign, where the team has raced right by its $92,118 goal. Delivery is expected to begin in August 2016.