Why You’ll Probably See More Smart Bikes in the Future

By: Kassidy Coleman

(Photo source: Volata Cycles/YouTube)

(Photo source: Volata Cycles/YouTube)

Biking has always been one of the eco-friendlier options of transportation, but it has also always been a little more dangerous. According to the CDC, bicyclists are more at risk for a crash-related injuries and deaths than those in motor vehicles. However, Volata Cycles, a company based in San Francisco, is bringing high-tech features to bikes that could make them more interactive and safer for riders.


On their website, Volata states, “Your bike could be smarter. It could be equipped with everything you need to enjoy safer and more interactive rides. We created Volata with the rider’s needs in mind, and we designed all of its advanced, integrated features to work seamlessly together.”


They weren’t kidding, either. With a 2.4” display, GPS tracking, lights that automatically turn on when it gets dark out, a horn, self-charging battery, and anti-theft technology all built into the bike, riding a bike is about to get safer, smarter, and more fun. The built-in computer, that is the main way for riders to interact with their bicycle, can be controlled with a thumb joystick that’s built into the handlebar. On the computer you can check directions, weather, music, and info all without taking your eyes off the road.


While this isn’t the first company that has tried to bring smarter technology to biking, Volata is fairly confident this is the first time something like this will succeed. In 2014, Canadian company, Vanhawks started a Kickstarter campaign for the Valour, a smart bike. Their campaign ended up raising over $100,000, however, a mere two years later and the company is out of money. Founder of Volata, Marco Salvioli told Tech Crunch what sets the Volata apart from the Valour, “The Valour was a great product but it was particularly criticized by bike community due to their hardware choices. This pushed many users back. Also it does not feature a display (so there is no visual UI except for the turn-by-turn LEDs) which is the core of Volata’s user interaction, or a horn, or automated lights. And their antitheft system is not based on a bike’s built in network connectivity (GSM) able to send the bike’s location to the internet anytime, and a built-in accelerometer that detects the theft attempt.”


With all these built-in features, it isn’t surprising that the Volata is a little pricey. If you’re interested in purchasing one, they’re asking for $299 as a down payment, and $3,200 would be due upon delivery. It’s a little expensive, but considering if you were to add all that stuff on your own to your bike, it would cost a whole lot more – we would say it is more of an investment than anything. Not only that, but some of the features, such as the built in GPS to find your stolen bike, would be pretty difficult to even add yourself.


What do you think about this smart bike? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!


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Virtual Reality for Dinner: How to Eat Whatever You Want Without Feeling Guilty

By: Kassidy Coleman

Just in case you haven’t noticed, we’re a little obsessed with virtual reality. It’s cool, it’s new – can you really blame us for loving it?? We’ve seen virtual reality dominate E3 this year, take over roller coasters, change the way parents can read to their children while abroad – all within the past few months. Seriously…virtual reality is changing everything. And now it might change how we eat.

Project Nourished consists of a group of thirty people in LA experimenting with how we eat food by using a virtual reality headset, 3D printed food made out of yeast and algae, and an aromatic diffuser.

(Photo source: Project Nourished)

(Photo source: Project Nourished)

Here’s how it works: You put on the VR headset which will then take you to a new environment. The aromatic diffuser releases the smell of different foods by using ultrasonic heat. Wrap the “bone conduction transducer” around your head, this will mimic the sounds and vibrations of chewing. A gyroscopic utensil (which looks a little too much like a pair of tweezers) is how you will eat your tasty 3D printed food. Then there’s a cup, which is probably the most normal thing about this (even though it is intended to mimic intoxication).

You’re probably still thinking, “Why would you want to wear a virtual reality headset while eating dinner?” It’s okay, even though we consider ourselves virtual reality fiends, this is still kind of weird for us to think about.

Project Nourished states that this could be used for people wanting to lose weight or have allergies, alternate reality dining, help boost morale for astronauts and soldiers, the possibilities are endless. Think about it – this technology could allow people with peanut allergies to “eat” a peanut dish. And um…what about eating whatever you want with literally zero calories? And how cool would it be to eat fictional space food on the moon? Okay, we still think the idea is a little weird, but hey, they are right – this could actually help a lot of people and be a ton of fun.

What do you think about eating virtual reality food for dinner? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

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