Baidu DuBike packs built-in navigation and activity tracker – and generates its own electricity
A bike from Baidu? The Chinese answer to Google?Yes, that’s right. The search engine company has revealed a tech-heavy ebike – and it’s a thing of surprising beauty.
And technology, I’m guessing?Correct. The DuBike (for that is its name) has a suite of sensors and an app system built in that enable it to track and analyse your leg-pumping activity. And there’s GPS navigation that, rather than forcing you to look down at your handlebar-mounted smartphone every ten seconds, tells you when and where you need to turn through the use of laser indicator lights.
The handlebars indicate your next turn
Lasers?!Lasers, buddy. And that’s not all. The lasers, the app system, the sensors and the rear LED brake lights are all powered not by a battery but by your whirling thighs. Kinetic energy (and regenerative energy when you hit the brakes) power the electronics.
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The brake lights are powered by your pedalling and braking
It's a beautiful-looking bike – but a price is not yet forthcoming
Sounds lovely, but is all this tech really necessary when my smartphone can do most of it already?That’s arguably true. But the built-in GPS, for instance, means that your DuBike will always be trackable in the event of it getting stolen. Which, given that it looks like a space bike from the future, is probably something that’s going to happen.
So when can I buy one, and for how much?That remains a big ol’ mystery, we’re afraid. But Baidu apparently intends to launch it in China before the end of the year, so we may know more soon. As for a Western release... don’t hold your breath. The DuBike seems to be designed more as a proof-of-concept of the on-bike OS and app system (which has been developed by Baidu’s research arm, and may appear on other manufacturers’ bikes in the future).