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Connected bike concept can be controlled by a smartphone

The world's first digitally intelligent bicycle has been touted by Cambridge Consultants.

The smartphone controlled demonstration bike, which features a combination of sensors, actuators, wireless connectivity and smart algorithms, is aimed at ushering in the Internet of Things – a concept of internet connected devices that collect data and communicate.

To create their 'connected bike', the Cambridge Consultants team took a standard bicycle and equipped it with an electronic gear changing system. They then wirelessly linked the gears to both manual controls and a smartphone application mounted on the handlebars.

According to the company's Tim Ensor, it is this combination of monitoring and control that allows the system to make automatic gear changes under the control of a smart algorithm running on the smartphone.

When a rider's cadence rate slows, the application automatically sends a signal to shift into a lower gear. Bluetooth Smart – a low-energy version of Bluetooth – is used to wirelessly connect the system.

"This bicycle demonstration shows how a combination of sensing, control, algorithms and connectivity can make a real difference to just one sector of the sports and fitness market," Ensor noted. "We see countless applications in different industries, and we are actively working on a number of projects that take a device and infuse our technology and design expertise to optimise the user experience."

As well as fitness training, Ensor believes the technology could also be used more broadly with any consumer bicycle to optimise performance and make it more user friendly.

GPS and map data could also be added into the application, he says, to make gear changes in anticipation of upcoming hills.

The video below demonstrates the technology in action.

Laura Hopperton

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