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Adafruit's Smart Helmet Helps Navigate to NYC's Citi Bike Stations

timothy posted about a year ago | from the mind-control-the-direct-way dept.

Transportation 37

coop0030 writes "Add GPS, compass navigation & visibility with LEDs to a helmet that helps you find your way to the closest Citi Bike station in New York City. It's powered by Adafruit's FLORA, a wearable electronics platform. With a detailed tutorial, you can build the helmet, and customize it to work in most cities with a bike share as well."

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Another creation (3, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44063349)

Another creation of the All powerful bike lobby [firedoglake.com] . Helmets are just a particularly sturdy stepping stone on the way towards totalitarianism.

Re:Another creation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44063513)

Why do so many summaries included undefined terms?
Do they just want us to click through to a random ad-laden site to find out WTF a Citi Bike station is?

Re:Another creation (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44063649)

That's a good point, but I was pretty sure the all-powerful bike lobby would make sure everyone knew.

Who is "Ladyada" fucking (-1, Troll)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | about a year ago | (#44065747)

At Slashdot to get all these articles posted?

Re:Another creation (1)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | about a year ago | (#44063889)

I saw a Schwinn and a Ford Lobbyist kicking the crap out of each other. It was awesome!

Re:Another creation (2)

preflex (1840068) | about a year ago | (#44065205)

I bet the Schwinn guy kicks harder.

Re:Another creation (1)

Striver (612368) | about a year ago | (#44064485)

Another creation of the All powerful bike lobby [firedoglake.com] . Helmets are just a particularly sturdy stepping stone on the way towards totalitarianism.

Yeah...This seems pretty raving out of context. Just FYI, here is the context http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWf2JyIKrN4 [youtube.com] There are more videos about this and it is a long standing sore spot in NYC

Darth Helmet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44063381)

SpaceBallllllllllllllssssssssss

can you NYC people answer this for me? (3, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44063491)

Why not take the money you would have spent on the helmet and just buy your own bike? I'm in WI and I could easily fit a full sized mountain bike in my 400 sq ft studio apartment...or the bike rack downstairs or my parking spot lol. I don't get this bike sharing thing. A cheap but okay bike is like $150. Why rent when you can just buy one? And why buy an expensive helmet that tells you where to rent bikes?

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (4, Insightful)

unimacs (597299) | about a year ago | (#44063605)

I don't live in NYC but we do have a bike share system in Minneapolis. I ride my own bike every day to work and felt much the same way as you did but I've since realized there are some significant advantages to using a bike share system.

The biggest for me is that I can get around town without having to lock up my own bike somewhere and risk getting it stolen or damaged.

Another is cost. An annual subscription to the bike share system is $60 or so but if you're savvy you can get them for $45 or less. My subscription this year cost me $20. That's far less than what an annual bike tuneup would cost IF you don't need any parts.

Then there is the space saving thing you alluded to. Though you may be fine with a bike taking up space on a wall in your apartment, not everyone is. Depending on what floor you live on, getting the bike into your apartment may not be at all convenient even if you have the space. And while yes, you could lock it up outside, again it is at greater risk of getting stolen or damaged.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (2)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | about a year ago | (#44063679)

For me, it's kind of the convenience factor. Maybe I want to ride a bike to work but take the subway home. Maybe I'm at work and a coworker wants to grab a taxi and go out to dinner/drinking later. Being able to just rent and drop off a bike has some serious appeal to me. If I lived in NYC, I would be all over that. It beats the hell out of the mass transit system, and has some real potential.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44063677)

Because then it'll get stolen, that's why. Stealing an easily-identifiable rental is a terrible idea, which is why the bowling shoes you rent at the lanes are so damned ugly.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44063703)

the point is that you can bike one direction and take a bus back.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | about a year ago | (#44064169)

Most of the city buses around here have bike racks on the front of the bus for just this purpose. It lets you go across town, and then lets you ride to and from some other destination. I've seen policies for this on light rail as well.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44064325)

Most of the city buses around here have bike racks on the front of the bus for just this purpose. It lets you go across town, and then lets you ride to and from some other destination. I've seen policies for this on light rail as well.

sure, but you ever seen a drunk guy try to lift a bike into a bus..

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (1)

unimacs (597299) | about a year ago | (#44064337)

Which is fine if the two slots for bikes aren't already taken and if you don't forget to grab your bike off the front of the bus when you get off. ;)

And of course in between the time of riding some where and getting on the bus you have keep your bike someplace. With the bike share system, that's a non issue. You slide it into a stall at the station and then you're done with it.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44063865)

If you ride daily, all year, bi-annual maintenance on a bike requires chain ($20), crankset ($25) and freewheel ($15) replacement due to the chain stretching and the gear teeth wearing down. I ride through the snow in the winter however, so my replacements occur at about the 1.5 year point. This doesn't include about $200 worth of tools to do most repairs, broken spokes, wheel truing, brake pad replacement (disc brakes ~2 years), random vandalization of your bike, or replacing stolen parts.

With the bike share programs you can also ride a bike in one direction and take a bus or cab home.

The helmet idea in my opinion I could care less for.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (1)

unimacs (597299) | about a year ago | (#44063923)

Though this doesn't always apply, I got a coupon book with my subscription that I had a bunch of coupons I could actually use. I got my first subscription cheap because I signed up at the end of the season. Since a lot of the coupons were set to expire, they gave me another book at the start of the next season. The net cost for me was less than $0 when all was said and done.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44068061)

If you ride daily, all year, bi-annual maintenance on a bike requires chain ($20), crankset ($25) and freewheel ($15) replacement due to the chain stretching and the gear teeth wearing down.

IME, a freewheel/cassette is good for two or three chains, and chainring(s) (surely you don't mean the whole crankset?) can easily last for ten years or more.

I don't dispute that bike share makes sense, though. It's very convenient and affordable.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44064187)

It's the best thing to happen in NYC in a while. I've been riding to work everyday and have already paid for the anula membership by not riding the subway.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44064309)

A lot of people come to NYC by buses or trains then rent a bike to ride to the place of work. You could buy a bike and try to keep it chained by the bus/train station but it will not survive long.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year ago | (#44064415)

for $150 you can get a bicycle mockup. "cheap but okay" starts at 5 times as much.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44065099)

Maybe in NYC, lol. I got a brand new mountain bike for $160 and it lasted 9 years with zero tune ups. At the last police evidence auction, nice bikes were going for $35 and they were only stolen once, lol. At the pawn shop and local thrift shops, they hover around $50.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year ago | (#44068671)

I never was in NYC. Matter of fact, never was in the USA, "lol".
Just stating facts. $160 gets you a good enough frame. Or an okay set of wheels. Or a really decent set of brakes. Or a usable rigid fork. If you are lucky, a decent suspension fork if you are willing to buy used and service it yourself.

You will not get a brand new mountain bike for $160 anywhere. Not even a stolen one, for the reasons mentioned above. In fact, if you try to use such a bike mockup as a mountain bike, even on a cross country trail, it might cost you your life. If you are very lucky, the only loss would be the bike mockup itself because the fork and the brakes won't survive the trail for sure, with broken frame as a runner-up.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#44065109)

Only for bike snobs like you. Snobs like you are not going to be willing to rent that POS, because it with be a cheep bike, beat to hell and back. The people who might get use a bike share would likely be quite happy with a $150 bike.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44065459)

Actually, no. I'm a transportation-bike snob (a completely different thing from the sport-cycling assholes -- we're slower, but actually care about being safe, legal, and courteous -- in that order of priority), and spent some time looking into the bikeshare system my city recently evaluated.

Short form? They're about $2,000-3,000 bikes, built to be tough, robust equipment. They aren't expensive in the "make it featherweight" department, they're expensive in the "make it heavy and robust and full of GPS/tracking equipment" department. The money spent on making them robust is being spent because it's cheaper to build a bike that can take a bit of abuse than to increase the workload on the pool of staff who are dispatched to do repair -- and yes, bikeshare systems do have staff that both repair bikes and shuffle them around (if you have folks taking them one-way to stations without the return trips to get them back in the pool).

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44064615)

Not in NYC, but KC. I own 2 bicycles, a bikeshare membership, and a bus pass. I frequently use the bikeshare system. Examples... If I decide to walk to work one day I can hop on a bikeshare bike from the station near my office and ride to a restaurant for lunch or to a bar, I can do this with friends, quite fun. If I'm riding the bus across town and I don’t have my bike, I'll generally hop off it and goto the bikeshare station once I get in the umbrella of our bikeshare system, a leisurely bike ride beats the crowded bus any day.
I can also use my bikeshare membership to rent a bike for a friend if we are going somewhere and did ride my bike.
Our bikes also have front baskets, making them nice for unplanned grocery store runs.
Mainly the use case is my bike is not everywhere I need it unless I bring it with me, the bikeshare system is always nearby.
Our system is a bit cheaper than the NYC system, They have many more bikes and stations in the dense area, where as ours only covers part of our urban core, it has only been operating since last year and has a lot of room for growth.

bikes are not toys, and bike shares are convenient (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year ago | (#44065615)

First off, a "cheap but okay bike" is not $150. I can't stand this (nor can most bike shop employees, who are really, really, REALLY fucking tired of people strolling in and having wildly unrealistic expectations for what a bicycle costs.)

Bicycles are not toys, and they should not be priced like one. They should be priced compared to the expense of a public transit pass ($60/month in my city for bus+subway), a scooter, or car expenses. How much is a typical monthly car payment?(Answer:$452 [cnbc.com] ) How much do you put into that car per month in gas? (Answer: about $250/month [aol.com] .) Insurance? (Answer: about $800/year [rmiia.org] ) Etc.

Second: bike rental systems (these are not "bike shares", despite the popular bastardization of the term) are popular because:

  • They can be used for spontaneous and/or one-way trips. For example, I'm going out with friends tonight, and they don't bike; I don't want to have to leave my bike at work. I rode a bike share bike into work instead of taking my for-transportation bike. Or maybe it's going to rain in the morning but the evening commute will be spectacularly nice. Or maybe the roads are clogged and the busses running behind; I can hop on a bike share bike.
  • You don't have to store the bike. While many buildings are getting better at this, most don't have bike storage, and it's usually a bit of a pain. Same at many workplaces, though again, lots of places are getting better at this, in part because there's often a financial incentive from the health insurance company.
  • You don't need to worry about maintenance and repairs.
  • It's amortized, basically. Instead of having to spend $500 on a solid commuter bike, you can spend $X/month/year. And in some ways, it's easier to track for purposes of taxes on commuting expenses.
  • They are heavily aimed at tourists, despite claims to the contrary. Looking at the deployment maps this is pretty obvious - they stations tend to be around touristy areas in many cities. Bicycles are the perfect speed for touring an area; slow enough to take it all in, but fast enough to cover a good amount of area.

Re:can you NYC people answer this for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44071663)

Quite right. The economics of bike share don't come even close to making sense [aviewfromt...lepath.com] .

A bike helmet that isn't retarded? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44063515)

Say it isn't so!?

What is the deal with bike helmet design anyway? Most of them look like you're supposed to be going 80 miles per hour. Mine doesn't look like that though. Lazersport.com's Urbanize is my helmet. It's nice.

Re:A bike helmet that isn't retarded? (2)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year ago | (#44064553)

Try to cycle 30 kph or faster for a few hours - and no cheating, at least 85 rpm cadence, then you'll learn why proper helmet ventilation is important.

Ugly (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44063519)

LED stripes look like crap because you can see the individual LEDs. If you want a TRON look, nothing beats EL wire [adafruit.com] .

Re:Ugly (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44063691)

yeah but they're easier to control individually(short look at the vid and they're probably those that you can daisy chain and control all individually from one end)

Re:Ugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44063759)

The point of the individual RGB LEDs is for navigation. You would not be able to indicate left, right, straight, or turn around with the EL wire.

Re:Ugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44073685)

Yeah but there is nothing kewler than walking around Manhattan wearing a helmet while NOT on a bicycle. LOL

How to be become a tool in one easy step (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44063607)

Step 1 wear a ridiculous bike helmet

Slashdot effect :) (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about a year ago | (#44068215)

Everything on the required list for the project is now "Out of Stock"!
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