On-board navigation is a little trickier on a bike – even a mounted smartphone presents problems if you don’t want to stop or slow down every time you have a question. So urban bikers may love the ideas behind the Solid, a Bluetooth bike that hooks up with your navigation app and gives you left/right direction via vibrating handlebars when the time comes for a turn.
The Solid is an interesting project, a slim smart bike made from 3D-printed titanium frame and all the basics, but with an added internal smart systems. The electronics connect to an app called My Bike, which offers app-based diagnostics that tell you when something is going wrong with your brakes or when a component needs to be replaced. A companion app called My City is an interactive tour guide that will take you around a city exploring some of its fun spots and voiced by famous city residents.
That vibrating handlebar feature, however, has even greater potential. Connect it to your phone and the bars will give you a gentle buzz to nudge you in the right direction for an upcoming turn, then a stronger buzz when the time comes to turn and a warning, dual-bar buzz if you missed a turn.
This next-gen smart bike concept is part of the Bike Design Project, where five different design studios across five different cities developed their own unique ideas for the bicycle of the future. The Solid comes from the bike-friendly streets of Portland and is the brainchild of design studio Industry (which, to little surprise, has an incredibly Portlandish website you can visit) and Ti Cycles.
As a project bike, Solid exists but only as a prototype, and one focused primarily on Portland, which makes it an interesting idea but not something likely to appear in your own city anytime soon. However, the Bike Design Project website is still definitely worth a visit, as you can see the other designs, what bike features ultimately won (Seattle’s “Denny” will eventually be produced by Fuji Bikes), and where smart bikes will be heading – literally and figuratively – in the next decade. There’s a lot of exciting ideas out there.