A Taiwanese university research team has developed a sensor system that significantly improves the safety and comfort of cyclists, but is compact enough to fit on a bicycle’s handlebars.
The system collects a wide range of data — on temperature, humidity, ultraviolet rays and air quality — and then processes it, issuing warnings or suggestions to the cyclist.
For example, the sensor system is able to flash a signal or “speak” in Chinese to remind the cyclist to ride in the shade when the weather is too hot, said associate professor Chang Hsien-chung, who led the research team.
It can even spray mist over the cyclist’s face and torso to cool him or her down, or issue warnings when air quality is poor, Chang added.
These functions could be especially useful in places like Taiwan, where cyclists are easily worn down by strong ultraviolet rays and sweltering heat in the summer, Chang said.
The sensor system also helps users navigate safely at night. It comes with a special vest for the rider to wear equipped with flashing LED lights that indicate whether the cyclist is turning right or left, braking or slowing down.
If the system’s ultrasonic distance sensor detects an approaching car at night, it sets off the flashing LED lights as a warning to the motorist, Chang said.
The system comes with two small batteries which store power from sunlight and the friction created when pedaling, he added.
The system, which won a merit award from a Ministry of -Education-sponsored micro-computer research and development competition, is awaiting a patent from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Chang said.