Brainstorming for an iPhone cycling App

Kevinchows

Speeding Up
Sep 24, 2011
53
0
26
saitama-shi
Developing hardware might get really expensive, especially if you want phone carrier access. Android phone sounds like it could work though.

Battery issue; external battery would be my preference...or perhaps piggyback off the Di2 battery on such an equipped bike.
But adding external battery will add more weight on your bike and take up more space on your handbar.
 

Kevinchows

Speeding Up
Sep 24, 2011
53
0
26
saitama-shi
What about coding in phonegap or something similar so platform is not so much of a concern?
As other commenters had mentioned, the problem is the phone don't have enough power to last more than 4 hours of continuous use. Unless you add external battery, which add weight to your bike. On the other hand, delicate cycling computer like Garmin is a closed system, the only way to transfer the data is export the data using your computer. Then import the data to a analyze software, which is not user friendly.

Hardware seem to be a big problem.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
A dynamo hub will solve the problem of powering the iPhone...... I hope :D
 

Edogawakikkoman

Maximum Pace
Jan 14, 2007
2,539
238
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
Need a solar powered headset stem cap wired to a hidden GPS transmitter that is on all the time.
Then make a 'Where's my bike' ™ © ® app for when it gets stolen or you forget which pub you left it at the night before...
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
Ok the reasons I own a Garmin 500, 705 and other computers:

  • Multiple functions that I need for training, racing or pottering
  • Small, accurate and takes up very little space on the bars
  • Does not require case or cumbersome housing on the bike
  • 100% compatible with online mapping, bragging sites

Issues with a smart phone:

  • Battery life
  • Not water proof
  • Some require network connection for mapping and GPS
  • Takes up way to much space on the bars
  • Cost of replacement if dropped or crashed
  • Requires additional parts to do what a cycle computer does out of the box
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
947
243
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
Love it!

Need a solar powered headset stem cap wired to a hidden GPS transmitter that is on all the time.
Then make a 'Where's my bike' ™ © ® app for when it gets stolen or you forget which pub you left it at the night before...
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,120
2,619
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
Then make a 'Where's my bike' ™ © ® app for when it gets stolen or you forget which pub you left it at the night before...
Reminds me of a vicar I knew who found that his bike had been stolen. He was sure it was one of the parishioners, and so decided to do a little guilt trip on the thief.

Next Sunday his sermon was about the Ten Commandments. The plan was to watch the faces of the congregation when he reached 'Thou shalt not steal'.

So what happened? He got as far as 'Thou shalt not commit adultery', and remembered where he'd left his bike.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,805
1,813
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
Issues with a smart phone:

  • Battery life
  • Not water proof
  • Some require network connection for mapping and GPS
  • Takes up way to much space on the bars
  • Cost of replacement if dropped or crashed
  • Requires additional parts to do what a cycle computer does out of the box
The GPS function as such does not require a network connection. The GPS even works in "airplane mode" where the radio is disabled, it's completely passive (receive-only).

Maps are another story. Downloading map data off the net based as you're moving along can draw quite a bit of power. It would be better from an efficiency point of view to preload the map data at home via WiFi and keep it on SD memory or whatever.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,120
2,619
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
Maps are another story. Downloading map data off the net based as you're moving along can draw quite a bit of power. It would be better from an efficiency point of view to preload the map data at home via WiFi and keep it on SD memory or whatever.
The MotionX app allows you to download maps to your phone for offline use.

GPS accuracy of phones, certainly the iPhone, is much better when they have network connections available; they can also triangulate from the cell towers and known wifi networks. They're built with this assumption in mind. Dedicated GPS devices don't have such a luxury, and thus generally have higher-quality satellite receivers.
 

Desune

Speeding Up
May 7, 2008
64
0
26
Tokyo
But adding external battery will add more weight on your bike and take up more space on your handbar.
But all things considered, it's also the simplest and best solution.

Solar panel probably won't give you enough juice to run a phone unless you have a very large panel...and then it will only work during the day.

Turning a dynamo hub will slow you down, not to mention the extra weight of the unit itself. You'll also have to deal with the extra wiring. And you'll need a new wheel which you can't just swap out whenever you want to.

External battery pack can be mounted anywhere on (or in) the bike, although handlebar would probably be best. Can be easily replaced with a smaller or larger capacity unit, or completely removed for shorter rides.

But it doesn't really matter where the power comes from. People who want to use a dynamo should be able to just plug one in.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
But all things considered, it's also the simplest and best solution.
No the simplest and best solution is still too buy a dedicated cycling computer. The Garmin 200 has GPS tracking and is a little more expensive than a good Li-Po battery extender for the phone you would be using.

I reallly find that trying to convert a smartphone is trying to fix a problem we don't actually have. I'm all for tinkering , love it but I really think if you are looking to solve the issues we have with current cycle computers then a dedicated open source cycling computer is the way to go, not trying to rehash the phone to do it.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
947
243
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
James - the phone is an opensource platform in a way. They key value proposition is in having:

1) Network connectivity (Garmin's biggest gap)
2) Reduced battery consumption over a standard smartphone platform
3) Open development platform (there are more developers on bikes out there than you'd think - alot of very cool apps could / would be made)
4) Easier integration with 3rd party HW and software
5) Independence from 'the brand'

I love my Garmin (have friends that work there, too) and see no reason not to highly recommend it to anyone as the best cycling computer made! However - I'd also love to see this type of enthusiast project going which pushes the envelope past that which a corporation can do because of their inherent risk management policies and budgets.

Currently I'm messing around with the OpenSprints HW which, to me, represents both the spirit and the actualisation of this type of development.


No the simplest and best solution is still too buy a dedicated cycling computer. The Garmin 200 has GPS tracking and is a little more expensive than a good Li-Po battery extender for the phone you would be using.

I reallly find that trying to convert a smartphone is trying to fix a problem we don't actually have. I'm all for tinkering , love it but I really think if you are looking to solve the issues we have with current cycle computers then a dedicated open source cycling computer is the way to go, not trying to rehash the phone to do it.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
947
243
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
Put it this way - it's not like anyone is trying to solve any problems, just innovate some new features and push the boundary a bit more,.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
Hi Tim,

The point Im trying to get across is that the phone is one of the problems in the whole process.

what I would like is an open source cycle computer rather than another phone app. Im hoping the andriod ones being released later this year are just that and will allow people to make thier own applications for the unit.
 

Malte

Maximum Pace
Sep 26, 2011
496
54
48
Tokyo
Put it this way - it's not like anyone is trying to solve any problems, just innovate some new features and push the boundary a bit more,.
Sounds like a "Solution for no problem" = waste of Engineers time ;)
Also haven't seen any "appealing" open source HW project so far (that play in the league of "smart something").
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
947
243
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
Actually Malte , a 'Solution for no problem' is also known as 'Innovation' . Or exactly why engineers waste alot of time trying to 'fix things' when they should be trying to 'dream things'.

When you reach for something higher and broader than you are, you might be surprised - you just might make it!

Sounds like a "Solution for no problem" = waste of Engineers time ;)
Also haven't seen any "appealing" open source HW project so far (that play in the league of "smart something").
 

Desune

Speeding Up
May 7, 2008
64
0
26
Tokyo
No the simplest and best solution is still too buy a dedicated cycling computer.
I would agree that a dedicated unit would be better designed and more efficient, but if Garmin provided all of the functionality these guys are asking for, then we wouldnt be having this discussion. Some of it is SO niche that the only way to get it is to build it yourself.
 

Malte

Maximum Pace
Sep 26, 2011
496
54
48
Tokyo
Actually Malte , a 'Solution for no problem' is also known as 'Innovation' . Or exactly why engineers waste alot of time trying to 'fix things' when they should be trying to 'dream things'.

When you reach for something higher and broader than you are, you might be surprised - you just might make it!
I doubt that this approach is possible for HW Development of the type you are looking for, better use an established HW Platform and tinker around with the SW only.
 

Kevinchows

Speeding Up
Sep 24, 2011
53
0
26
saitama-shi
I would agree that a dedicated unit would be better designed and more efficient, but if Garmin provided all of the functionality these guys are asking for, then we wouldnt be having this discussion. Some of it is SO niche that the only way to get it is to build it yourself.
That right, dedicated unit like Garmin GPS is good and work very well but sometime it is not convenience. In the past few weeks I have been doing some night ride and every time I need to use my iPhone to check the wind speed (two days ago it was like 37kph:p), if your dedicated unit can tell you that I am happen to pay for it.

At the beginning I was planning to make an mobile cycling app, but after I talk to Tim and see all your comments, I can see this will never work. Due to the the hardware limitation, of course you can add external battery but this is just a quick fix to the problem not a solution. On the other hand I am not satisfy with dedicated unit either, because you cannot customize any functionality.

What I am going to do is to start an open source cycling computer project, use Android as the operation system and custom hardware (a strip down version of a Android phone). Seem like Tim know someone who can help, so I will talk to him and see what is the best solution for this project.

Here is what Tim suggested:

Core requirements for HW will mainly be:

1) High contrast, touch screen.
2) ANT+
3) GPS
4) WiFi
5) Longlife battery
6) Water resistant​
 

Kevinchows

Speeding Up
Sep 24, 2011
53
0
26
saitama-shi
I doubt that this approach is possible for HW Development of the type you are looking for, better use an established HW Platform and tinker around with the SW only.
Well, of coure we are not developing the HW ourselves.:cool: Good artists copy and great artists steal. There is a solution out there already, there is no point to develop it. We will just customize it, like waterproof, shockproof and make it cheaper by removing camera and other stuff that you don't really need on you cycling computer. I am sure we can find a Manufacture in China to make it very reasonable price.