The trusty bell on the handlebar of your bike is probably a bit low-tech, certainly compared to some of the smart bikes that have come on the market recently. The Shoka Bell gives your bell, and therefore your bike, a fast upgrade to make it safer, more visible, and generally smarter form of transportation.
Currently a Kickstarter campaign, the Shoka Bell fixes on to the handlebars using a magnetic mount, and at its most basic, makes a noise to let everyone know you’re coming. Rather than just one sound, there are eight to choose from, each suitable for a different situation. Cleverly, the volume automatically adjusts according to what’s going on around you, so there’s no need to blast the eardrums out of a pedestrian on their afternoon walk. When it’s needed, the Shoka Bell blasts out a tone that’s twice as loud as a regular bell. You can even create your own tones, and it’s all controlled by a simple joystick.
The Shoka Bell’s functionality doesn’t stop there. Using a clearly visible pattern display, the surface doubles as a navigation alert system, pointing you in the right direction when it’s linked to your phone. Interestingly, instead of directing you along the fastest route to your destination, the app will chose the safest route, an important consideration when you’re on two wheels. Additionally, it’ll connect you to the Shoka Bell community, where you’ll get insight into the best paths from local cyclists, and real-time updates on traffic conditions.
Beyond this, there’s a speed sensitive light on the front that will automatically switch on in low-light conditions, and the mounting system doubles as a security measure. It’ll stamp the bike’s last location on the map, and alert the main unit if it registers movement. Future development plans include those to link the Shoka Bell up with connected cars to include location information for drivers.
The Shoka Bell itself has a battery that will last for 200 hours before needing a recharge, while the handlebar mount will stay active for two months before needing more power. There’s a micro-USB port on each one. Made from aluminum, the whole unit is waterproof, and comes in several colors. To get a Shoka Bell you’ll need to pledge at least $100, depending on whether you manage to grab an early bird offer, and the campaign closes at the end of August. The goal has already been reached, so expect the Shoka Bell to ring your doorbell in March next year.