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Change the handlebars, make your bicycle smarter

Posting in Design

Riding with the wind in your hair and freedom of the road makes the bicycle a popular choice for transport, but how can you make such a simple machine smarter?

Helios Bars has the answer. For $199, a set of smart handlebars can transform your favorite bike -- by giving it all of the mod cons of many mobile devices and connected vehicles today.

Designed by Kenny Gibbs, Antonio Belmonto, and Seena Zandipour, a set of Helios Bars gifts a bicycle with built-in LED headlights, handle-integrated turn signals -- no more need to wave your hands around -- Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and a small GPS unit installed within the handlebars.

Once equipped with the Helios Bars and connected to the product's mobile application, your bicycle can 'sense' your presence and automatically turn the headlight on and off based on your proximity.

If you insert a SIM card into the product, together with the GPS technology, you can track your bike anywhere in the United States if its been stolen and be informed of its co-ordinates via text messaging.

In addition, the rear-facing LEDs change color according to how fast you ride, giving you a visual speedometer, and you can use Google Maps to plan your journey -- with rear lights indicating when you are close to a turn.

For those among us who like to personalize our bicycles, the app can also be used to set the color of the rear lights.

The developers of the handlebars enjoyed a successful campaign on crowdfunding website Kickstarter, going far beyond their target of $70,000 to secure over $120,000. However, the creators say this may only be the beginning -- as a full 'smart bike' could be in the works.

"Putting everything in the handlebars limited us a bit in what we could accomplish with Helios," Zandipour told Fast Co.Design. "We want to work to harness the space of a full bike, and with that, we could use the dynamo and have a regenerative pedaling system."

The handlebars are available on pre-order here.

Via: Fast Co.Design

Image credit: Helios Bars

— By on August 7, 2013, 3:19 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure