Tag Archives: Smart Compass

Every cyclist needs this handlebar-mounted device


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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

HAIZE is a smart compass for urban cyclists


This “magical compass” will always point to where you want to go using its LED display.


HAIZE is a new type of navigation system designed for cyclists, particularly those commuting throughout a city. The device works like a magic compass in the sense that, instead of pointing north, it points to the destination you set in its accompanying mobile app. Ultimately, it will help make your ride safer by letting you keep your smartphone in your pocket and eyes on the road.

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The brainchild of London-based startup onomo, HAIZE can easily be attached to any bicycle via its integrated rubber band and is compact enough that you can always bring it wherever you go. Once affixed to your handlebar, simply define the destination in its companion app, put your phone away and allow HAIZE to guide you from point A to B. Its 23-LED display will show you the way as well as keep you abreast of the distance to your destination.

Using HAIZE’s minimalistic screen, you’ll have all the information you need at a glance. Both direction and distance are represented by a set of outer and central LEDs, respectively. You can select between two different modes of navigation: compass mode that points you in the direction of your final destination as you make your way throughout the city streets freely and navigation mode that shares a specific route with turn-by-turn notifications.

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While being used as a compass, an outer LED will point toward your destination while an inner LED will blink faster the closer you get to your journey’s end. If the central light ever becomes red, that means you’re going further out of the way. When navigating, the amount of outer LEDs will denote the distance remaining and any upcoming turns. When it’s time to go left or right, only the outer LED will appear while the central light will flash white in shorter intervals the closer you get to your final stop.

Housed inside its anodized aluminum shell lies an ATmega328 at its core, along with an accelerometer and gyroscope to determine position, a magnetometer to track direction, a light sensor to regulate the LED brightness in various conditions and a rechargeable 300mAh battery that offers two weeks of use. Aside from that, HAIZE uses an embedded Bluetooth 4.0 module to communicate with its smartphone app.

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Looking ahead, the team hopes to utilize all of its embedded hardware to locate friends, monitor ride activity, collect trip data, receive incoming calls and text messages, as well as detect accidents and automatically alert emergency contacts. Sound like a system you’d like to mount onto your handlebar? Race over to HAIZE’s Kickstarter campaign, where onomo is currently seeking $76,645. Units are expected to begin shipping in June 2016 — just in time for summer!