Traveling in a bike through the London streets might be a common thing, but maintaining the safety of bikers is essential. As a part of the Connected Streets project, Future Cities Catapult, a London based company has come up with different technologies which could improve the safety of urban cycling, bring out route choices, help in visualizing blind spots and more. The Internet of Things will be used to complement the existing cycling infrastructure. A possible future is being envisioned for building a “soft infrastructure” for cyclists. Navigation through city roads can be made safer with a layer of digital information and assist bike riders to choose better routes.
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Augmented Reality in Action
Among the different technologies that have been used, augmented reality is one of them. The cyclists will be able to wear an augmented reality visor, similar to Google Glass which can be brought down from a regular cycle helmet. With the visor a transparent screen becomes available in front of the cyclist’s eyes.
The heads-up display is already used on ski goggles through which relevant information and push notifications are transmitted to the wearers. In a similar way, the AR HUD can be used by cyclists to show them relevant information about their surroundings and provide simple help to find routes. It shows safer routes in real time along with blind-spot visualizations for buses and big vehicles which are projected on the road.
Dan Hill, chief design officer at Future Cities Catapult said “Many cities are spending serious money, time and attention on improving the ‘hard infrastructure’ of cities to make cycling safer, more convenient, more attractive. Yet as well as this — and clearly investment in such hard infrastructure is key — there is potential of a soft infrastructure which can be overlaid on existing urban fabric to further support cycling, which takes advantage of contemporary technologies such as wearables, Internet of Things, real-time sensor data, and so on.”
Another Use of AR Visor
Another use of the AR visor would be to include beacons and icons into the display so that along any given route, the “imageability” of places and moments can be developed.
The team at Future Cities Catapult said “Imageability is a term coined by groundbreaking urban planner/designer Kevin Lynch to describe the process by which we learn how to recognize and become familiar with our environmental surroundings and learn journeys. On a bike, we particularly need cyclists to develop a heads-up stance, looking at the environment around them, rather than down at a phone. This prototype explores how technology might support a learning process based on imageability, such that the device and its interface essentially disappear over time, and the rider pays attention to the city around them.”
Other technologies used will let you know about paths which have less pollution, guide you to the correct path with devices fitted on the handle bars of your bike and provide blind spot visualizations.
So, augmented reality can make cycling safer even in a busy London street.
What do you think?
What do you think about the use of augmented reality in making cycling safer? Would you try out such HUDs when they are available? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image & Article Source – theguardian.com