HIOD One brings Bluetooth communications to cyclists
By Ben Coxworth
October 5, 2011
Whether you have the wind whistling in your ears on the highway, or the sound of scrunching tires coming from beneath you on a singletrack trail, it can often be difficult to hear what other cyclists are saying. While most of us are just content to yell "WHAT?", Swedish wireless tech company Free2Move has what it thinks is a better idea - it's HIOD One, a Bluetooth communications system designed specifically for cyclists.
Each HIOD One unit consists of two parts: an arm-mounted voice module with hard-wired earphones and microphone, and a wrist- or handlebar-mounted control module. Speaking into the helmet-strap-mounted microphone, cyclists can talk to other members of their pack through their earphones, as long as they are no farther than 400 meters (1,312 feet) away.
Power comes from a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, which is said to be good for ten hours of talk time per charge.
Any one rider can stay in contact with up to five other HIOD-wearing riders, although only one at a time. This is a little disappointing, as presumably one of the best uses for this product would be to make general announcements like "OK everybody, get ready for the big hill around the next bend."
The system also requires users to be in a clear line of sight, which might not always be the case with mountain bikers.
While rider-to-rider communication is HIOD One's main purpose, it can also be used to make and receive phone calls from a wirelessly linked mobile phone, or to stream music from a linked music player to other riders - probably not the best idea when riding on city streets or highways, though.
HIOD One is not yet generally available for purchase, but Free2Move is taking inquiries from people who are interested in buying or selling it. Contact information can be found on the product website.
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