Bicycles with gears are nothing new and changing them manually has been a hassle, especially considering the number of gears modern bicycles come with. Engineers at UK-based Cambridge Consultants can make manual gear changing a thing of the past as they have recently unveiled a system that uses data from your Smartphone to calculate the best gear you should be in for the current pedaling speed. Once the data is received, the system wirelessly shifts gears up or down.
The system makes use of the phone’s accelerometer to know when to change down in an emergency stop and the phone’s GPS capability to get the bike into the correct gear for an upcoming incline. While mechanical automatic gear boxes already exist, they do wear out quickly since they rely on moving flywheels. The new system, however, activates an electric gearshift system with no issues of wearing out quickly.
The system is controlled entirely by an app on a handlebar-mounted iPhone, which controls a stock Shimano Di2 electronic gear-shifting system. Additional components include wheel rotation sensors and a pedaling cadence sensor. Data is transmitted to the Smartphone using low-power Bluetooth Smart technology and processed by an algorithm running on the phone. While there are a few who believe that multiple systems running on bicycles close by could interfere with each other, the developers state that the technology uses industry standard encryption to ensure safety of the system and ensures that hundreds of cyclists could operate within a small space without interference in the gear change system.