Gadgets

‘Waze for bikes’ Hammerhead doesn’t want you to die while cycling

Image Credit: Hammerhead

There you are biking through the city, enjoying the exercise and breeze and keeping an eye out for cars, buses, and kamikaze pedestrians.

The only thing wrong this picture is you have no idea where you are going.

Navigating and biking at the same time can be challenging and unsafe, which is the problem Hammerhead is trying to solve.

“We think there is a huge gap in the biking market, in which we cannot only promote safe, more frequent bike riding, but also leverage existing smartphone hardware rather than duplicating it as is done by standalone GPS units,” founder and CEO Piet Morgan said.”Hammerhead offers users a simple, safe, and efficient means of navigating. We are bikers ourselves and aim to bring the power of real-time social navigation to biking.”

Hammerhead makes a device mounts onto your handlebars and gives you turn by turn directions using LED lights. It communicates via Bluetooth with a smartphone app, where you input where your route, so you don’t have to pull out your phone to get what you want to go. Cyclists can customize the cues and signals to match their preferences, and the device is waterproof, shock proof, and has a bike light for night visibility.

The app has a crowdsourced, community component as well.  You can share your favorite routes with your friends and other uses and discover new rides.

Hammerhead closed its crowdfunding campaign today on Dragon Innovation, a company that helps new hardware companies raise money, optimize their go-to market strategies, and provides support with manufacturing and shipping.

The company raised $183,738 of a $145,000 goal. 1,999 orders came from 35 countries across 6 continents.

Morgan was inspired to build Hammerhead back in 2006 while on a cross country bike trip for Habitat for Humanity. Bikers would tape maps to their handlebars or consult their phones while biking, which are unreliable and dangerous navigation methods.

Two of his classmates died on the trip, and Morgan thought their lives could have been spared if there was a safer way to find safe bike routes.

Hammerhead aims to make biking safer, but also more fun to encourage people to bike more. Like fitness apps Strava and MapMyRide, it incorporates a competitive element so people can compete against their other users and get real time feedback on how they are doing.

It also also working with major bike share companies Bixi and B-Cycle (which offer public bikes for New York City, San Francisco and Boston) to use the technology as well. Customers can keep track of how much time they have left in their session and navigate to the next rental docking station.

There is quite a lot of activity happening around “bike innovation” right now. Cities around the world are implementing public bike share programs, and biking is seen as way to cut down on traffic congestion and pollution.

The hardware revolution and crowdfunding platforms, like Dragon Innovation and Kickstarter,  have also helped support entrepreneurs interested in building bike tech. We’ve seen smart wheels, devices that charge your cellphone as you cycle, and theft protection systems, to name a few.

Hammerhead costs $75. The company is based in New York City.

 

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