I love visiting TNW HQ in Amsterdam, mainly to see my great colleagues who are lucky enough to live there, but even as a cyclist I find the priority given to bikes a little difficult to handle.
In the ‘dam, cyclists are top of the food chain on the roads. That’s great for them, but not so good for perturbed pedestrians and drivers who have to guess what they’re going to do next. The Dutch do have fines for bad cycling, but they’re certainly not a total deterrent.
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This little discussion on the Dutch way of doing cycling is only to say this – I think everyone needs a SmartHalo, a little device that can be attached to the handlebars of an ordinary bike and hooked up to your smartphone to offer turn-by-turn directions.
SmartHalo offers color-coded prompts that you can quickly glance down to see, rather than requiring you to look at a full map on your smartphone. You put your destination into the companion app and you’re off.
The device also allows you to track your bike if it’s stolen or you’ve leant it to someone, is weather-resistant and has a built-in alarm which activates if someone tries to remove it.
SmartHalo also detects when light levels fall and automatically turns into a headlamp. When you get off your bike, it turns itself off automatically. Its creators claim a three week battery life, but I suspect you’d need to charge it a little more frequently than that.
Now, here’s the kicker – the project is… a Kickstarter campaign. Which means you should be aware of the usual caveats about it potentially not reaching its goal, not being delivered or failing to live up to the initial promise.
That said, the team behind it has already reached $39,000 of its $50,000 goal. The device will be sold for $149, but early adopters can get one for $99. The promise is that it will be shipped by May 2016. I’m actually backing this one.