Open bike sys­tem

Bike mak­ers and elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ers col­lob­o­rate

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - BEN COXWORTH

THE more that tech­nol­ogy ad­vances, the greater the va­ri­ety of elec­tronic gad­gets that can be in­stalled on our bikes.

Lights are an ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple, but there are also elec­tronic shift­ing and sus­pen­sion sys­tems, along with things like ac­tion­cams, phone charg­ers, and cy­cling com­put­ers.

As it stands right now, they’re al­most all stand-alone items, re­ceiv­ing power in­de­pen­dently and some­times work­ing to cross pur­poses.

Ran­dall Ja­cobs and Kyle Manna hope to change that, with their OpenBike “con­nected bi­cy­cle ecosys­tem”.

The idea be­hind OpenBike is that bi­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers will build the ba­sic net­work into their bikes, while elec­tronic com­po­nent man­u­fac­tur­ers will like­wise make prod­ucts that are com­pat­i­ble with the sys­tem.

Hard­ware-wise, it fea­tures one cen­tral bat­tery that pow­ers all of a bike’s elec­tronic de­vices, along with in­ter­nally-routed elec­tri­cal wiring run­ning from that bat­tery to key lo­ca­tions, such as the han­dle­bars.

This means that when com­pa­nies are de­sign­ing Open Bike com­pat­i­ble com­po­nents, they won’t need to in­clude their own bat­ter­ies. Like­wise, con­sumers will only have one bat­tery they need to check.

That bat­tery can be re­moved for recharg­ing, al­though it can also be charged via a dy­namo while ped­alling.

Ad­di­tion­ally, OpenBike will in­cor­po­rate its own open com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­to­col, al­low­ing gad­gets from dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers to “talk” to one an­other.

As just one ex­am­ple of how that could work, data such as speed and GPS co-or­di­nates could be re­layed from a cy­cling com­puter to an ac­tion­cam, where it would be stamped on the video.

OpenBike will also be able to ac­cess its own cloud-based server, pro­vid­ing In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity for all the gad­gets that need it.

This could greatly fa­cil­i­tate ser­vices such as rental bike fleet man­age­ment, and bike-shar­ing co-op­er­a­tives.

Work­ing with Marin Bikes, Ja­cobs and Manna have al­ready cre­ated a pro­to­type bike that demon­strates some of the fea­tures that could be ac­com­mo­dated. It in­cludes a head­light, tail lights, turn in­di­ca­tors, a brake light, a phone mount with USB charg­ing, and am­bi­ent light sen­sors that cause the lights to au­to­mat­i­cally come on as the sun goes down.

A pro­duc­tion ver­sion of that bike should be avail­able from Marin next year. In the mean­time, Ja­cobs and Manna want to de­velop part­ner­ships with other bike-mak­ers and elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ers. — Giz­mag.

PHOTO: OPENBIKE

The world’s first OpenBike-equipped bike should be avail­able next year.

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