There are smart watches, smart phones, smart cars—so why wouldn’t you want to have a smart bike? COBI, a German start-up, is aiming to make your regular old “dumb” bike smarter.
COBI works through your very own iOS or Android smartphone. To use it, you download an app and mount your phone to a water-resistant dock on your bar, known as the hub. The hub has an integrated LED headlight that projects light 33 feet, an electronic horn, and sensors for speed, weather, and light. A bar-mounted controller is included to operate your smartphone and all the associated functions more easily.
Lights on the bike are automatically activated when it gets dark, including the headlight and a rear light which doubles as a turn signal and brake light. Additionally, COBI adds an alarm function to your bike. The hub’s built-in accelerometer will register sudden movement of the bike, even when your phone is nowhere near the bike. If that movement is detected, an alarm will sound to scare off potential thieves.
The program can also provide navigation features and weather, make calls, play music, and measure all the traditional cycling computer metrics like speed, distance, and calories burned. The hub operates on a lithium ion battery, which can be charged off the bike or by a dynamo. There’s no word yet on how long the charge will last, but it’s likely that it’ll vary based on which features are being used. Bonus: Your smart phone will charge as you ride, meaning that you’ll arrive at your destination with a full battery.
The system is advertised as having more than 100 features, but the inventors believe that COBI is capable of much more. They’re hoping that individual companies will get on board and add features of their own to the app.
Currently, COBIs are not available for purchase. However, the company has already surpassed the initial $100,000 goal for its currently runningKickstarter campaign. For $179, you get your name on the list when they come out in the second quarter of 2015.