In the United States, two people are killed every day in cycling-related accidents. In a bid to save lives while still encouraging more people to take up two-wheeled transportation, students at the Biomedical Mechatronics Laboratory worked with mechanical and industrial engineering professor Constantinos Mavroidis to create a “Smart Bike” called the Interactive Bicyclist Accident Prevention System, or iBAPS.
The prototype bicycle is comprised of two 3D-printed consoles, both of which are attached to the front and back of the bicycle. Each section contains two proximity sensors that are able to detect a cyclist’s distance from nearby objects. The consoles are also able to project a virtual bicycle lane on either side of the bicycle, using lasers, to stress the cyclist’s safe zone on the street.
If a vehicle was to enter this ‘safe zone’, then the lasers would blink. If it dangerously close, then the sensors will trigger a built-in speaker to alert all parties.
For the cyclist, the iBAPS has vibrating handlebars which shake if a cyclist is going too fast as they approach an intersection. Statistically, these are one of the most dangerous areas for bike users.
The entire system can also be synced with a smartphone app, via Bluetooth, in order to provide longitudinal data to show cyclists how their behavior changes over time and indicate their level of safe biking habits. Student Marietta Alcover says that they hope “the smartphone app will work with the phone’s GPS to send a signal to the front console every time the bicycle is approaching an intersection and not slowing down.”
The iBAPS project has already earned the MIE Capstone Award for biggest impact, as well as a $5,000 Provost Undergraduate Research Award. This year, the team hopes to further develop the smartphone application, test the prototype, collect field data, and improve the design.
“I truly believe this has huge commercial potential,” Mavroidis said. “It is an innovative and useful tool that is needed by the market.”
Images Brooks Canaday/Northeastern University