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OpenBike Charges Phones, Lights, and Connects Your Bike to the Cloud

OpenBike says their pedal-charged battery and in-bike network should be standard equipment

1 min read
OpenBike Charges Phones, Lights, and Connects Your Bike to the Cloud
Photo: OpenBike

OpenBike has not designed an electric bike. Let’s get that straight at the beginning. The company reimagined what should be standard equipment in pedal-powered bikes in an age of battery-powered-mobile-networked-everything.

Anybody who rides a bike to commute to work, or in a serious recreational way, probably has battery powered clip-on bike lights (and has forgotten to recharge them). He or she likely has a handlebar mount for a smart phone—that also needs recharging. And that phone might connect to a fitness bracelet or other kind of monitor, and send data about the ride to the cloud.

imgOpenBike cofounder Randall JacobsPhoto: Tekla Perry

OpenBike cofounder Randall Jacobs says that lights, phone mounts, cloud communications, and more, should be standard on bicycles today, not a hodgepodge of add-on equipment. His company, OpenBike, launched at the Highway 1 hardware accelerator earlier this month, has designed a power and communications network to be built into bikes. At the center is a single battery recharges through pedal power. A USB port in the handlebars lets your phone charge as you ride; the battery also powers head and rear lights, an automatic brake light, and turn signals. The company intends to offer more sophisticated gadgets—like theft prevention and fitness tracking—as options, and expects more gear to be available for the system in the future.

Jacobs says the first products with the company’s technology will start coming out from Marin Bikes in 2017, adding about US$300 to the price of a model. Given that a set of good bike lights costs about $80 and a smartphone mount is about $20, that’s not crazy. And not having to remove and recharge those lights? Priceless.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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