Thanks to smartphones and smartwatches, finding your way through a busy urban environment on foot or in a vehicle is now easier than ever. But have you ever tried using one of those gadgets to navigate while on a bike? Dodging traffic and obstacles on the road while looking at a smartphone screen actually make commuting by bike a frustrating, and sometimes dangerious, experience. But thanks to a new product on Kickstarter that just might be changing.
The BeeLine is a high tech gadget, with a drop-dead simple interface, that is designed to make navigating while riding a bike easier than ever. It attaches to your handlebars using a built-in silicone strap, and connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to get directions to wherever you’re going. When activated, the device uses an arrow to provide very simple navigation cues, while also providing a readout of the distance to your destination. Riders can simply glance at the screen to quickly determine what direction they should be heading, and how far they left to go.
But unlike some other navigational tools, the BeeLine does not use turn-by-turn directions to get you to your ultimate destination. Instead, it uses what its creators call “fuzzy navigation” to help you find your way. That means that the arrow on the screen does continually point in the direction you need to go, but it doesn’t explain exactly how you get there. In other words, riders are still left to their own devices in terms of choosing a route, but like a compass that always knows where they are going, the BeeLine will keep them pointed in the right direction.
The device is small enough to fit on a keychain, and receives its navigational information from a free app that is available for both iOS and Android. That app can save frequently visited destinations, and allows users to set waypoints if they need to find their way across rivers or around other obstacles. The BeeLine will then route riders to those waypoints in succession, keeping them on track all the way.
The Kickstarter campaign for this project has only just launched, and as of this writing there is still more than four weeks to go before it wraps up. The designers of the BeeLine are hoping to raise $92,000 to bring their product to market, and as of now they have already received more than $25,000 in pledges. If successful, they plan on shipping the device in August of 2016, at a price of about $90.