The environmental and health benefits of cycling are well-known, but road safety is often a concern for urban cyclists. SmartHalo helps cyclists keep their eyes on the road and off their phones by navigating them to their destination with simple, luminous signals on the handlebar. The small, round gadget simultaneously functions as a navigation device, a fitness tracker, a front light and an alarm system. It can be attached to practically any bicycle and instantly transforms it into a smart bike fit for the modern urban jungle.
The bicycle is an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation and an important component of the sustainable city of the future. Unfortunately, cycling in urban centres can be dangerous due to the close interaction with motorised vehicles and pedestrians. According to the European Commission’s community database on road accidents (CARE), there were 2006 bicycle fatalities in the European Union in 2014, and bicycle fatalities made up 11.64 percent of road fatalities in urban areas in that same year. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, meaning that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike should all be alert and careful. Still, it can be very tempting for cyclists to take a quick look at their smartphone’s navigation system to check that they are headed in the right direction.
SmartHalo eliminates this dilemma by transmitting navigation signals directly to a device that is fitted on to the handlebar, where they can be easily seen while looking at the road. This means that cyclists can leave their smartphones safely stowed away, while still benefitting from step-by-step navigation to get to their destination.
SmartHalo was developed in Montreal with a clear objective: getting cyclists from A to B efficiently and safely. The result is a circular gadget that users attach permanently to their bike’s handlebar. Getting around is very easy: users enter their destination into the SmartHalo app, and put the phone in their pocket or bag. The app calculates the fastest, safest route and transmits a step-by-step navigation to the gadget, which in turn displays intuitive light signals. For example, if the right half of the circle lights up in green, the cyclist must make a right turn.
SmartHalo comes with plenty of other features that will please the tech-enthusiast. It has a night light which turns on and off automatically. It protects the user from bike theft by sounding an alarm and turning red if an unrecognised person tries to unlock the bike. SmartHalo also functions as a fitness device, tracking the user’s speed, calories burned, distance travelled and other stats.
Despite all of these sophisticated features, SmartHalo is sturdy: it is resistant to dirt, rain, and snow. It can only be detached with a custom key, and can therefore be left outside on the bike. The device’s battery usually lasts around three weeks and can be recharged via a USB adapter.
SmartHalo will be released in spring 2016. The device can already be pre-ordered on the company’s website for 119 US Dollars apiece.