Cycling Gadgets: Smart Tech for Bikes Feature at CES 2015

January 13, 2015 9:00 AM

Cycling popularity has sky-rocketed in the past few years, especially in the UK after the success of Bradley Wiggins closely followed by the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire in 2014. And with that have come a hoard of new cyclists and a tonne of new revenue for bike and bike accessory companies everywhere. It’s not surprising, then, that at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there were a tonne of interesting new cycling gadgets that aim to make the life of the cyclist easier and safer. Most were only in prototype stage but, with such huge potential to save time and even lives, it will surely not be long before we see these gadgets on our shelves. Let’s take a look at some of the more outstanding cycling gadgets that were unveiled last week…

Connected Cycling Helmet

At last year’s show, we saw how in the not so distant future, car manufacturers aimed to have all cars on the road “connected” to each other via modified wi-fi technology to provide drivers with vital information about traffic and their car in order to make driving safer. The basic concept is that cars installed with this system will all be aware of each other and will consistently broadcast data detailing speed, position and direction of travel. So when a car goes to run a red light, for example, cars approaching the junction will be alerted to this car’s dangerous actions. Companies, led by Ford, have been co-ordinating their efforts to bring this system to life but Volvo are going one step further this year by aiming to include cyclists in this connection as well.

Data collected by Volvo revealed that 50% of cyclists killed on the road collided with cars. Their new connected helmet aims to correct this. The helmet will talk to connected Volvo cars, via a smartphone app, and warn them of a cyclist’s presence, especially if they get too close to a bike. The system works by calculating the trajectories of the bike and the car and will warn the driver via the car’s heads up display while the cyclist will be warned via a light mounted on the helmet. It will also warn cyclists when they are in a driver’s blind spot by vibrating. To get a better idea of how the helmet will work, check out the video below.

Smart Pedal

6 bikes are stolen every single minute in Europe which makes French company Connected Cycle’s new Smart Pedal perhaps not as essential as a life-saving helmet but most certainly a must for any cyclist who regularly locks their bike up in vulnerable areas. They have designed a pedal that can alert bike owners when their bike has been stolen and report its location. Inside the pedal, they have installed GPS, a GPRS connection and a sensor that captures all its activity. Everything goes to the cloud and is then sent to a smartphone app (of course).

“It is totally autonomous. It has its own generation of energy and internet connection so that you can be alerted if someone steals your bike” says Jean-Marie Debasch (the company’s founder). The pedal even has its own coded key so that it can only be used by the bike’s rightful owner. Read more about the company here or watch the video below to learn more.

Visijax Commuter Jacket

This jacket received high honours at CES 2015, appearing on the list of Innovation Award Honorees. The list is reserved for outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology and speaks to the brilliant concept that Visijax have developed here.

The jacket uses a total of 23 integrated high intensity LEDs both front and back (white and red respectively, in compliance with the law). The sleeves also use motion-activated self-cancelling turn indicators that engage when the cyclist raises their arm and disengage when they lower their arm after turning. The jacket is powered by a cleverly concealed battery pack that turns on and off at the touch of a button that is positioned on the front of the jacket. It uses a rechargeable USB battery and can last up to 30 hours. The jacket itself is a lightweight, breathable, nylon fabric that is coated with Dupont-Teflon, making it water resistant for those wet commutes.

The jacket is currently on sale for £99 in the UK or $120 in the US on Amazon or the company’s website but check out the video below to see the jacket in action.

What do you make of these latest cycling gadgets to hit the market? Will they revolutionise cycling and enhance safety and enjoyment the sport? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!