Augmented Reality (AR) is influencing the way we ride, the way we buy bikes and the way we repair them. This influence will only become stronger, especially after Facebook, Apple and other companies release AR smartglasses.
AR is easy to use but difficult to explain. AR means connecting digital information to a ‘target’, like an object, person or scene. To see this digital information we need a mobile phone, a tablet, smartglasses, or a head mounted device.
In this screen capture, we can see how mileage and other information is displayed in the visor of a cyclist. The information is ‘live’ meaning it changes as the rider moves. This display is very basic compared to the visor displays of military pilots.
This image is from a product review video by DC Rainmaker, featuring the Raptor Heads-Up Display. Below is the video. Be sure to check out DC Rainmaker’s excellent YouTube channel and blog!
Augmented Reality and Bike Shopping
With AR, we can examine a possible bicycle purchase without leaving our homes. Ikea and Wayfair are two companies that did this with furniture. After downloading an app, their customers can put realistic digital models of things like tables into their room, and check them for size and color.
This video below () is of an Augmented Reality Bike Configurator. It shows how easily one can select one’s preferred wheels, sprockets, colors and other choices. This application is not yet available on the market.
In the video below, a man wearing a Hololens headset examines a digital bicycle in augmented reality. The Hololens, made by Microsoft, was a pioneer in AR headsets. It was also very expensive. As technology improves, and the price comes down, there will be more goggles, visors and helmets equipped with AR. There will be apps as well, for general navigation, for safety, for training and competition.
The biggest impact AR will have is on bicycle safety. Imagine visors or goggles that show you the traffic behind you, as well as your GPS position and the best route to take. If you want to monitor your heart rate or other body functions, you will be able to see that in your visor as well. No more looking down to check a device! Your hands never leave the handlebars!
Last year, Cannondale released a great example of how AR can assist with maintenance and repair. Their app is like an owner’s manual as well as a video Xray of how their Lefty Ocho fork works.
Very likely within five years, AR will enable us to have “digital repair people”, who can point at a part or problem and explain how it works or how to fix it. The digital repair person will be able to answer questions and have conversations, like Siri, but with a digital body.
AR is already used in medicine, science, education and industry; Boeing started using AR for engine repair years ago. Pokemon Go, the most popular game download ever, is an example of AR, as is the yellow line/first down marker in football. However, AR’s upon bicycling will not only benefit cyclists, but will showcase AR’s benefits to the world.
I have created a free and simple way to experience AR. The download can be accessed by clicking here. That post also features examples of AR’s impact upon bicycling, as well as samples from my upcoming book on AR and Bicycle Safety.
Thanks to our Author
Stephen Black is an AR producer, a visual artist, and a bestselling author.