The designers of a satnav bike bell are looking to raise £30,000 via Kickstarter to put their creation into production. Blubel connects to a smartphone app and provides navigation information to the cyclist as they ride. It also crowdsources data to help identify safer routes.
Blubel connects to smartphones via bluetooth (hence Blubel) and provides visual indicators to the cyclist via a simple LED interface which is not unlike that seen on the SmartHalo device we reported on last year. In this instance, yellow lights indicate turns, while a blue light points towards the rider’s destination.
The app also gathers data from users. Every time a Blubel is rung, it indicates an alert point and these location points and other journey data are gathered and analysed to highlight any potential hazards. The team also says that backers will have the opportunity to influence how this data is shared with urban planners to improve cities’ infrastructure.
Blubel’s founder and CEO Sasha Afanasieva said:
“I came up with the idea for Blubel as a result of my own cycling experiences in London. Initially I wanted to get fit, so I started commuting by bike and it became my favourite part of the day – it beats public transport, whatever the weather. But there were also times I found it incredibly stressful – losing my bearings, getting lost or ending up on really busy roundabouts with no easy way to check the route.
“I was amazed at how collaborative the cycling community in London is; sharing tips and information on forums and communities, and even helping strangers on the road. This got me thinking about how fantastic it would be to have a navigation device that pooled this knowledge to find the safest routes for cyclists of all levels.”
Earlier this year Blubel joined the European Space Agency Business Incubator at Harwell, where designers have benefited from not only funding, but technical expertise in the development of prototypes. The firm also won the IBM Smart City Challenge.
The team has so far raised over £10,000 of its £30,000 funding goal and a £50 pledge will get you a Blubel – a £15 discount on the expected price. Estimated delivery for backers is December 2016.
Afanasieva adds: “Cycling transforms our cities and has the capacity to reduce pollution and make people fitter and happier. I believe that the key to unlocking this potential is through making cycling easy and stress-free for everyone. Blubel aims to do just that.”