In bike-friendly cities, more often than not, one’s ride is stored in a sea of other bikes, or in the closest place available—which might not be the easiest to remember. One year ago, Amsterdam-based studio FROLIC proposed a simple solution: a discreet app-connected smart bicycle bell. After interest from buyers, manufacturers and even distributors, and six months of product development, they’ve just launched the result, Pingbell, on Kickstarter. And while it looks like a classic bell, it’s what’s inside that counts.
The accompanying free app notes the bike’s location when it’s parked, and Bluetooth Smart technology tells the returning bike owner when they’re getting close. If the bike still isn’t visible, the app can trigger the bell or activate a light. Also, the bike bell works as normal when riding, with a nice, rich sound. And, for security reasons, the bell has been constructed with tamper-proof screws (and comes with a special screwdriver). Altogether, it’s unassuming and highly-functional.
The origin of such a project also warrants mentioning. According to FROLIC co-founder Andrew Spitz, “When we think there is a problem with something, or if something is not working right, we make note of it and put it inside of a box we have in our design studio. When we have a bit of down time or want a challenge, we give ourselves 24 hours to make a working prototype to solve this problem. That was the impetus to start this: how do we find our bikes?” That prototype would trigger this product development, and while it certainly makes sense for bike owners in Amsterdam, it will be quite handy the world over.
The Pingbell is available for an early-bird special starting at €35 while supplies last but will be sold without restriction at €45 when all the early-bird items are gone.
Images courtesy of FROLIC