Innovation That Matters

Navigation device shows cyclists general direction of travel


BeeLine takes the GPS signal from a smartphone to show users the direction of travel rather than a street-by-street route.

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Following an exact or shortest route isn’t always a priority for urban cyclists, and this has been reflected in several of the cycling navigation innovations we’ve written about. We’ve covered a Canadian route mapping tool which helps cyclists to find the least polluted route and smart handlebars, also Canadian, that use haptic feedback to allow cyclists to navigate screen free! BeeLine is a device that works to show users the general direction of their destination rather than a specific route.

BeeLine is a small compass-like device that straps to the handlebars of a bicycle, connecting to a smartphone GPS signal to indicate the direction of travel instead of turn-by-turn directions. The small screen displays the direction of travel but can also be used to show the distance remaining, the speed of travel and the time. The technology also allows users to add points along the way, either to avoid certain areas or to pass by favourite cafes. The physical product was designed by Map, a design consultancy set up by design studio Barber Osgerby, and features an e-paper screen meaning information is displayed clearly in all light conditions. There is also a backlight for night riding. The device is fully waterproof and the battery lasts for up to four weeks between charges.

Tom Putnam, one of the co-founders of BeeLine, explains that the product allows cyclists to “rediscover the fun of cycling with their new-found freedom as BeeLine lets them pick their own path, unlike most navigation devices that use turn-by-turn GPS navigation.”

BeeLine was crowd funded back in 2015 but is now available for pre-order. Could this simple idea be extended to navigate outside of cycling?



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