There is no question that smartphones have completely changed the way we navigate, both in our cars and on foot. Nowadays, it is a simple affair to type in the name or address of somewhere you want to go, and instantly receive directions on how to get there. But, mobile devices haven’t had quite the same impact on navigation when riding a bike, in no small part because touch screens can be difficult – not to mention unsafe – to operate while pedaling along. But a new device called the Haiku is looking to change that by allowing riders to interact with a variety of smartphone-driven features simply by using gestures instead.
Designed to mount to the handlebars of your bike via a magnetic dock, the Haiku is part navigator, part cycling computer, and part communications device. The tiny gadget connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and uses that mobile device to provide instant access to notifications, messages, phone calls, and – yes – navigational cues, all of which are displayed on its bright, easy to read, screen.
Using a specially developed app designed specifically for the device, the Haiku can act like a standard cycling computer, automatically recording metrics such as speed, distance traveled, and time in the saddle. Those metrics can be shared with fitness apps, such as Strava, Google Fit, and HealthKit too, making this a great option not only for bike commuters but serious cyclists as well.
But, the Haiku app also provides navigational abilities too, allowing the device to give riders visual cues on when it is time to turn and how far they have to go to reach their destination, all without having to ever touch their smartphones. The Haiku’s screen is also capable of displaying incoming text messages and caller ID as well, allowing riders to stay better connected while on the go.
Some of these features have been seen in similar “‘smart” devices for cyclists before. What really sets the Haiku apart from the competition is its ability to be controlled by simple gestures rather than having to push buttons or physically touch the screen while riding. If you need more information about the route you’re riding for instance, you simply wave a single finger quickly over the screen and you’ll receive an update on your progress towards your destination. Want to know who just sent you a text message and read what they had to say? The same gesture will display the contents of the note right on the Haiku’s screen. Interested in knowing your current speed and distance traveled? Simply wave your hand over the screen and that information will be displayed. The controls are quick, intuitive, and most of all safe, making this a sensible choice for commuters who find themselves sharing the road with traffic on a regular basis.
With its cleverly designed magnetic docking system, the Haiku should be compatible with just about any kind of bike. The magnets are powerful enough to hold the device in place, even when riding over rough terrain. The navigation system also comes equipped with a lithium-ion battery that is reportedly good for approximately 12 hours of use before requiring a recharge.
The Haiku went from being just a great concept to a real, working product thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised more than €70,000 (about $74,500) earlier this year. The device is now set to ship in March of 2017 and will make its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. It is expected to retail for around $100.
Find out more at Haiku.bike.