Smartphones bring the automatic gearbox to bikes

Smartphones bring the automatic gearbox to bikes
We’ve been speaking about smartphones changing the world by the day, and here is one more proof that a smartphone in your pocket can improve virtually every area of your life. This time it’s automatic gear switching on bikes.

Right now, it’s all manual with the rider picking the right gear, but in the near future a Bluetooth-enabled system could cut the cables and rely on your smartphone to automatically change the gear to a perfect one.

"We've cut the cables between the switches and the gears and replaced them with a smart, low energy version of Bluetooth designed for very long battery life," Cambridge Consultants Limited‘s Tim Fowler explained.

Of course, some tuning on part of the rider is required initially. "In set up mode you pedal for a while and then set the maximum and minimum cadence levels either side of where you feel comfortable," Wilson said.

From there on, the smartphone gets readings from sensors on the front determining the speed at which you are riding and a sensor near the pedals that tells the pedalling speed (that is the cadence). Using those two values, it’s not hard to compute the right gear, and the switch then happens automatically.

With the next logical step being location awareness via GPS, the gears could automatically change ahead of a hill you have to climb or a downhill section. Shimano is mentioned as one of the first possible partners, and hopefully we will see the new system in bikes soon.

source: New Scientist

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6 Comments

1. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4764; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Not good for a bumpy road... But cool innovation i say!! :)

2. TheMan

Posts: 494; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

But why use a smartphone when a 1 cent chip installed on the bike could do the trick?

3. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

Why are companies making bikes more complicated and expensive?

4. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

That's great but I'm riding a bike EXACTLY not to depend on machines, this kinda defeats the purpose.

5. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I rather switch the gear myself...

6. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Bike were expensive due to the materials used to build it, not because of the disposable tech in it. These things won't make them any more expensive than they already are, Titanium and Fiberglass bikes are still expensive as hell. The purpose of this is for people who ride bikes for either health benefits or just recreation. Nothing is wrong with having a smart bike that can adjust gearing for you so you don't look like someone who overestimated his ability while riding up a steep grade and can't make it, only to have bystander laugh at your ineptitude. Also would work great for older individuals who don't have the time to deal with gears and you bike coupled with GPS data will set the gearing to allow them the easiest setting to traverse the terrain. Not all technology is pointless and stupid, a lot of it has excellent projected uses. People are always quick to be pessimistic about things, you don't want it don't use it. It was not designed for you, was designed for those who want to take advantage of it. That is all.

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