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Helios Bars add GPS tracking, turn-by-turn navigation to your bike


Already smashing through a third of the project’s funding goal on Kickstarter, the Helios Bars are a slick set of handlebars that add a variety of useful, high-tech functionality to the traditional bicycle. With safety in mind, the front of the Helios Bars include a built-in LED light that outputs 500 lumens. Built into the ends of the bars, the development team has included two more LED lights that act as blinkers when the cyclist wants to make a turn while on a busy road. The cyclist simply presses a button on the stem of the bars in order to activate the blinking light of either side for five seconds. 

helios-bars-in-whiteIf the user has an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, they will be able to take advantage of the proximity lighting feature. Utilizing low-powered Bluetooth 4.0, the headlight on the bike will automatically power up and down based on the distance of the smartphone from the Helios Bars.

The iOS application that comes with the Helios Bars will allow the user to choose a specific color for the rear LEDs; ideal in order to get the attention of other cars on the road.

The color of the LED lights can also be programmed to change based off the speed of the cyclist. This is accomplished by using the smartphone’s internal GPS to measure the current speed. For instance, a speed of 0 to 10 miles per hour would be displayed in red while a speed of 30 to 40 miles per hour would be displayed in bright blue. In addition, the lighting system can interact with the Google Maps API in order to provide visual cues for turn-by-turn navigation. For instance, one of the rear lights will indicate that a turn is approaching. 

helios-ios-appRegarding safety, the Helios Bars have a low-powered GPS module that automatically tracks the location of the bike when combined with a SIM card. If a bike with Helios Bars has been stolen, the owner simply sends the bike a text message and the bike responds with the exact GPS location via a Google Maps link. The GPS module has a separate battery source that lasts up to fifteen days without requiring a recharge.

Speaking of the battery life, the Helios Bars can last up to seven hours before requiring a recharge. This should be plenty of time for someone that commutes to work each day on a bike. The Helios Bars are completely weather-proof and will fit on all bikes with a threadless fork. Bikes with threaded forks will require a quill stem adapter. 

At this time, the Helios Bars are available in white and black for $199. A larger variety of colors can be found at a $249 price point. According to the details of the project, the estimated delivery date for the Helios Bars will occur by December 2013. The development team has already completed the prototype phase and is ready to get started on their first production run. As with all Kickstarter projects, be aware that manufacturing issues can delay delivery of the the item weeks or months beyond the original estimated shipping date.

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