You’ve probably heard of connected cars (it’s kind of hard not to hear about connected cars right now, actually, since there are so many of them emerging), but have you heard of a connected bike? A crowdfunded device called the “Cobi System” aims to turn your bicycle into a connected form of transportation.
If you ride your bike a lot in the city or just recreationally, the Cobi System is something that you’ll want to look to for the new year.
The System Setup
The Cobi System consists of two basic parts: hardware and software. The hardware part of the device includes a small screen or hub, and a thumbstick. The software simply connects the hub to your smartphone for easy access. The Cobi hub wraps around your bike’s handlebars, has a LED light ring that shines towards traffic, and also includes an alarm system. Since looking down at a screen to control a hub while riding a bicycle isn’t the best idea, the Cobi also includes a thumb control.
Using the thumb controller, you can access the hub and control the system. Attaching your smartphone to the hub will let you connect the two devices, which is really the main point of the Cobi System. The system connects with either an iPhone or an Android phone. Once a phone has been attached to the special case that fits snugly on your bike, you can access any of the available functions.
What the Cobi Can Do
The main point of the Cobi System is to make riding your bike easier and more informative. For starters, the Cobi includes a navigation system, some fitness tracking information, audio and music controls, a speedometer, and the company may be working on some additional features. Cobi’s developers have kept safety in mind when designing the system, which is why everything can be controlled through the thumb controller, and it’s also why the Cobi doesn’t include any functions that might be distracting while a cyclist is in motion.
There are other bicycle systems on the market that do things like help cyclists navigate the roads better, but most of those systems are distracting. Looking down at a mounted phone while driving isn’t the best idea in the world, and that’s where Cobi’s System will stand out. The other really interesting thing about the Cobi System is that it has been designed to transform.
Cobi is working on some additional parts that can be added to the system in the future. For example, an Auto Brake Light that includes a turn signal is in the works for the system (all controllable by thumb). As Cobi develops more parts for the system, those parts can be easily attached to a bike and integrated for a complete experience.
The focus here seems to be on safety and functionality above all else, and that’s the main reason why the crowdfunded campaign has been successful. Right now, the standard Cobi kit costs around $179 and is available in most countries through the company’s main website or through the Kickstarter page. For serious cyclists looking for a connected bike option, that’s not such a high price to pay at all.