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Cheap Bike Nav

Inexpensive navigation system for bicycles
  [vote for,

On Saturday I took the train and my bicycle up to San Francisco. I wanted to get from the train station to Hyde Street Pier. I had printed out some instructions, from 511.org, but I found them less than helpful as I was trying to bike.

This lead me to the following concept, which I'm thinkin about building from an Arduino as a prototype.

A simple console with several LEDs and one or two buttons (I haven't fully baked the user interface yet). The cheap version of this device would be programmed by connecting it to a computer via USB.

I'm envisioning an LED layout like:

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (1) would indicate the next turn is to the left (2) indicates the next manuever is forward (3) indicates that the next maneuver is right (5) in combination with (1, 2 or 3) indicates that the maneuver is a U-Turn in the indicated direction

The (4) LED blinks shortly before you arive at the next maneuver.

Several pushbottons: [START] [NEXT]

Programming it uploads a set of distances and maneuvers (turn left, turn right, go forward). A more sophisticated version could be programed from a smart phone using bluetooth. Multiple routes could be uploaded and selected using the buttons.

I'm thinking you would hold down the start button for 3-seconds then use the NEXT button to choose one of 8 pre-loaded routes (using the first 3 LEDs as a binary counter to indicate the selected route). Then, when you press the start button again the appropriate LED for the NEXT maneuver would light up (the display will always be for the upcoming manuever). As you near the waypoint, the center LED would blink faster and faster and go solid on when you reach the waypoint.

Upon reaching a waypoint, the user needs to acknowledge the maneuver by pressing the "NEXT" button. The computer then lights the appropriate LED indicating the direction of the next maneuver and starts counting down until it reaches the next waypoint.

This seems like it could be built for not much more money than bike computers that cost between $25-50, and would not require a lot of the rider's attention (as compared to trying to follow written instructions as I was.

A nice graphical interface would be even better (and the whole thing would be a minor enhancement to an existing bike computer).

An audible buzzer would also be a likely useful improvement. It would ring at the point just before you reach your waypoint.

A deluxe model that included an electronic compass and/or an accelerometer might also be possible.

mzellers, Feb 07 2011

Even cheaper bike nav http://www.asciimat...aps-navigator-watch
[mitxela, Feb 08 2011]


       This is tracking based on distance as a bike computer?   

       That's fine if you don't make any extra stops or course deviations for lunch or something. And if youe tires are inflated exactly the same every time. And you've measured them and entered the exact value (my bike computer appears to have about a 1-2% error).   

       Unless you mean it resets it's distance counter every time you push the next button, in which case you are going to either require the user to hit a button exactly as they're turning (dangerous) or going to introduce a fair amount of error there.   

       If the user has a smart phone, then just get one of the numerous cycle navigation apps and bike mounts available for the different types. If not, I'm not convinced that this is a replacement for hard-copy directions, but it might be an addition to them.
MechE, Feb 07 2011

       Some of the higher end bike computers have this funtionality (called breadcrumb navigation). They usually work off a GPS signal, with the route programmed in beforehand via. computer. Hiking GPS units are also available with this setup.   

       It's doable from a non-GPS enabled bike computer, but as discussed above, there are issues to do with accuracy that could be a problem - plus, forget to register one directio instruction and you're onto a wild goosechase!
Skrewloose, Feb 09 2011


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