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No, it’s not a 25th century weapon mounted on the Samsung Smart Bike, ready to destroy an enemy spacecraft or even an entire planet. Instead the lasers are designed to protect the cyclist in a more pacifist manner.
The lasers emit a stream of light that define a “virtual bike lane” on the surface of the road to alert motorists to your presence.
Samsung may be known for smart phones and computer monitors and even washing machines, but the company decided to partner with Italy’s Maestros Academy and designer Leo Burnett to build the bicycles as part of an effort to “preserve Italian craftsmanship [in bicycles] in the digital age.”
Samsung and two collaborators, Giovanni Pelizzoli and Alice Biotti, introduced a prototype of the Smart Bike at a design trade show in Milan earlier this year.
The bicycle has a curved aluminum frame that Samsung says was designed to absorb jolts from city streets – not always bike-friendly – thus providing a smoother ride. Otherwise, though, it looks like a conventional bike. And, like the recently unveiled Visiobike, it has a magnetic mounting cradle for a Samsung smart phone.
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Here’s where Samsung exerts its expertise in electronics. The smartphone uses Bluetooth wireless technology to synchronize it with the bike’s safety features. Such as the lasers: They’re switched on when ambient light falls below dusk level.
The phone also has a proprietary global positioning system (GPS) app that tracks your route and can help alert local government authorities to roads that see enough bike traffic to warrant dedicated bike lanes. Finally, the phone links to a rear camera to keep you aware of oncoming vehicles behind you.
Safety is becoming a growing concern for bicycles, as more people worldwide use them instead of expensive and polluting cars. The UN’s World Health Organization says cyclists now account for 5 per cent of all road traffic deaths globally.
So can you get a Smart Bike? Can you even afford one? Not yet. In fact, there are no concrete plans for Samsung to market the Smart Bike. It’s just a concept project for now. But given the diversity of Samsung’s products – don’t forget refrigerators – manufacturing a bike isn’t farfetched.
By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com
Andy Tully is a veteran news reporter who is now the news editor for Oilprice.com