A project looking for crowdfunding turns bicycle handlebars into a GPS navigation and security device. smrtGRiPS is designed to make it safer to use GPS and other mapping devices on a bike.
The gadget comes in two parts: a pair of grips to replace the ones already on your handles, and a pair of waterproof, Bluetooth-enabled receivers that slot inside the grips. The receiver hooks up to an iOS or Android smartphone, though it can also connect to a tablet device, for example in your backpack.
The navigation features will work with either a dedicated app based around the OpenStreetMaps project your choice of third-party app (initially limited to Google Maps, with others to be added later.) The dedicated app will also allow users to update info with details of bike lanes and other routes particularly suited to cyclists.
The navigation works simply enough: instead of getting on-screen or audio alerts to turn left or right, the appropriate grip will vibrate as you approach the turning. The grips also use a combination of differing vibration patterns and “highly audible rings” to indicate upcoming hazards or traffic problems.
The gadget also allows for some other location-based features. If you lock up your bike in a busy bike rack, you can use your phone to make the grips sound a ring as long as you are within 100 meters.
There’s also a security feature, albeit of limited use. If your bike goes missing, you can report it on the app. If and when another person using the smrtGRiPs system passes within 100 meters of your bike, you’ll get a notification of its location.
If you have multiple bikes fitted with the system, you can set proximity alerts so that you know if a rider has taken a wrong turn or otherwise broken away from the group.
The grips run off rechargeable batteries, expected to run three months between charges. If one of the receivers fails, the other will continue to operate.
During the Indiegogo campaign, kits will be available for between $59 and $69 depending on how early you order. The final retail price is planned at $119 with $10 shipping, with finished units available in August.