smrtGRiPS – feel your way to your destination and make your bike smart

smrtGRiPS bikeI get that most people these days tend to use a bike for the daily commute, in which case you have probably already got the optimal route there and back memorised. There are others, though, who will take a ride in search of new and exciting places, or simply prefer pedal power to the bus or tube. If you get lost then it will be a case of stop, check your mobile maps and then head off once more, possibly with some more stop-starts. How cool would it be to have an eyes-free guide?

I have seen cyclists texting and checking Google Maps whilst peddling past in the City, but they’re daft. This new product from Boréal Bikes is called smrtGRiPS.

smrtGRiPs is a pair of handlebar grips that use haptic communication signals to help cyclists get around without having to take their eyes off the road.

The 3.5 ounce smrtGRiPS sync with the rider’s smartphone over Bluetooth. Cyclists punch in their route on the navigation system in the Boréal app (Huard says they’ll have an open API, so down the line other mapping services might be available too), and the grips can take it from there.

The app sends notifications to the smrtGRiPS, which turns those notifications on as haptic feedback. As you approach a turn, for instance, the vibrations in the handlebars grow stronger to prevent you from missing it. The communication signals work both ways: later, you can access your bike’s parked location through the app.

Boréal CEO Louis Huard figures that by launching a swap in, swap out bike accessory rather than an entire smart bike his company can reach more cyclists, and improve more rides. After seeing the cost of some of the bikes parked outside my office, I totally get why people would rather add a clever grip rather than buying another bike – especially after finding one they really like.

It’s the lowest denominator… We can be on any bike and make any bike connected.”

smrtGRiPSHuard is also excited about the data Boréal can rack up which could benefit other cyclists.

By tracking rides, he has the ability to see which streets and pathways work best for bikes. With enough crowdsourced input, he can sees the possibility of being able to create a new layer of maps tailored to a community of city cyclists.

If you fancy seeing this come to the shelves then nip over to the Boréal Indiegogo project page and take advantage of the $59 early bird special.