In this article, we’ll be discussing a Augmented Reality Glasses for Indicating Gear Position and/or Other Information to a Bicycle Rider by Gordaychik, US publication 20210373342. The publication date is Dec 2nd, 2021 and the filing date is May 28th, 2021. This patent is not granted, yet.
Brief Summary (tl;dr)
Gordaychik (solo dude) has developed a pair of HUD-type glasses for biking. The system can hook up to your bike, primarily the gear shifting system, to display the current gear of a bike, inside the glasses. The gears can be displayed either in the frame or on the lenses themselves. So, you can quickly decipher your gear without much thought. Additionally, this system can sense and display real-time ride characteristics of other riders to help you on a group ride. For example, the system can connect to another bike and let you know when someone else is accelerating or decelerating. Neato skeeto.
A heads-up display (HUD) is an augmented reality system that can display pictures, instructions, etc., over a real-world scenario in real-time. I think the most well-known, at least for me, HUD system is the one used in fighter pilot helmets. There are a few companies that produce these, all of which work pretty similarly.
In short, the helmet has cameras and sensors that can see an environment. Information is then overlaid onto a clear visor in front of the user’s eyes. This information may be range, altitude, or whatever else the pilot may want to know. The HUD also displays and tracks items in real-time, in front of the pilot so they can shoot down the baddies. That’s a super simplified explanation, but that’s basically what these bike glasses can do. Talk about tickle-down tech.
First things first, the immediate purpose of this idea is to indicate a bike’s current gear to a rider, using a pair of HUD glasses. We’ve all been in a situation where we go from a downhill to a quick uphill, and we’re in a way-too-high gear. This can be especially shitty when clipped in. There’s also a situation where you’re in a low gear and you’re just spinning your cranks. I’m not sure that’s a big deal, but hey, maybe it is to some people. In the end, it’s just nice to know what gear you’re in, since component manufacturers have gotten rid of gear indicators on your handlebars.
The system also wants to help you in group rides, or make a ride a bit more immersive. I go into this later on.
FIGs. 1A, B, and C show three different configurations that can be used. FIG. 1A uses different colors in the frame 102 to indicate different gears. In this example, the lowest gears aren’t associated with a color because “hill climbing with the easiest cogs may not be an issue, at least not for the beginning of a hill”. Table 1 shows a sample color list.
FIG. 1B is similar to 1A, but rather than colors, the frame 102 shows a ‘grey mode’, where the gearing is represented by different greyscales. Table 2 shows the sample greyscale list.
FIG. 1C shows a pair of glasses with a ‘black mode’. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure as to how this one will work, so here’s what the document says:
FIG. 1C illustrates a pair of glasses 140 having an upper frame portion having a black mode. Black color may indicate a last gear, for example, a most difficult gear or a least difficult gear.
Another cool addition is the fact that the nose bridge can also provide haptic feedback to the rider. I’m not sure what’ll cause it to vibrate, but it can.
FIG. 2 shows another pair of glasses with multiple gear-indicating lights on the frame, which are 208-228. Obviously, each one of these lights indicates a current gear. But, what if you want to know the front and rear gear position? Lights 204 and 206 on the left side indicate a front and rear gear position. So, if 204 is illuminated, the LED’s 208-228 indicate the front gears. If 206 is illuminated, LED’s 208-228 indicate rear gears.
FIG. 3 shows a cool feature of these things. This is an HUD representation of a group ride with your homies. These glasses can work with another pair of glasses, or a bike computer/cell phone, to indicate whether another rider is accelerating or decelerating, as shown by arrows 310 and 312. It’ll do this by sensing either braking or crank data using what is called a V2X (vehicle to everything) system. Arrow 314 shows another rider 308 is ‘turning closer’ using handlebar sensors. I’m sure there are other things these can do, but these are shown in the figures.
FIG. 4 shows the internal configuration of these glasses. Everything inside the red box is part of the glasses. The WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network) is a wireless protocol that’s being used to communicate between the glasses and the bike/computer.
FIGs. 5, 6 and 7 a HUD view of gear positions, similar to the examples in FIGs, 1A, B, and C. FIG. 5 shows the gearing at the top of the lens. FIG. 6 shows the gear as a numeric value above the shifters. FIG. 7 shows gearing in the middle of the lens.
FIG. 8 shows an interesting addition to this idea. The glasses can be configured with a camera to sense hand movements. Particular hand movements can be associated with particular actions of the bike. So, in sequence 802, 804, and 806, we can see the rider extending their index finger. The system will process the hand movement, associate the hand movement with a gear shift (legally doesn’t matter which gear shift), send instructions to the derailleur, and shift gears. So, it’s a visual gear-shifting system. Nifty.
First, the inventor threw a lot of stuff in this application that could have made this article 4x longer. There are a bunch of features I didn’t go over, like an overlay of an 1800’s ghost town in your glasses. Check out the application if you want to do some more reading because you have no life like me.
Do I think this is necessary? No. Do I think people will buy it? Absolutely. We all know that one dude that’s got to have the latest and greatest. They’re going to roll up with their High Tower on top of their Tesla hooked up to some Seasuckers and they’re going to throw these glasses right in your face. Then they’ll stop and ask you to take a picture at every roller and drop so they can put it on Strava, while they’re explaining how they’re just like a fighter pilot. I see you.
But, it’s a cool idea. It’s always interesting to see where other people mind’s are at with respect to a bike. This industry is all over the place, at the moment, and I love reading and sharing it with you. Have a great day!