After a public debut at the Bay Area Maker Faire over the weekend, the smartphone controlled LED Helios handlebars are getting a lot of attention on the web (well deserved attention, I believe). The tagline on the website is, “transform any bike into a smart bike with Helios Bars.” That is a pretty big statement, but these bars include much more than a 500 lumen front light and integrated turn signals. Once the bars are installed, you can download an app and connect them to your iPhone via Bluetooth 4.0 Low-energy (hopefully an Andriod app is coming soon too). The phone becomes the control center for the Helios bars, allowing the user to vary the color and intensity of the lights, and set several other smart features. The rear facing lights can function as a visual speedometer, changing color as you speed up or slow down. They can also function as turn signals, operated by tactile buttons on either side of the stem. In addition to light features, there is a GPS that allows the owner to see the coordinates and Google Maps location of the bike from anywhere in the world within seconds.
The bullhorn version of the bars will come out first with a $199 pricetag. A drop bar version is in the works to be released soon after. The project will launch on Kickstarter tomorrow, so check the website for a link and more information.
Another bike accessory on Kickstarter at the moment is the Plume recoiling bicycle mudguard, designed by Dan McMahon, a Brooklyn based designer, and Patrick Laing, a designer in London. Plume is a simple and elegant design for a mudguard that is there when you need it, and out of the way when you don’t. If you have seen those slap bracelets for kids, you know the basic concept… and you may have the same concern that I did initially. Will this thing coil up unexpectedly and spank the rider in the rear after the first big bump? I was glad to see that Dan and Patrick addressed that concern in the video, and they show a rider descending stairs with no movement from the Plume at all.
Apparently I am not the only one who likes the idea. They have already surpassed their funding goal and still have about a month to go on the Kickstarter campaign. You can find out more about the product there, and jump on the bandwagon to back the project if you are so inclined