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Mobility Challenges and Opportunities- ARAC System December 10, 2012

Posted by polyakd in Mobility.

1.  Introduction

Every cycling enthusiast has a cycle computer; it may even have a GPS and turn-by-turn navigation support.  The problem is that every time you go to look at your current speed, heart rate, location you are taking your eyes off of what is in front of you.  This is potentially dangerous because you are focusing on something other than the road.  Augmented reality is a cool technology that be used to overlay information over the world we see.  Imagine if this technology were integrated into your cycling glasses.  Using augmented reality, important information is always displayed in your current line of sight.  The information overlaid into your view of the physical world is limitless. It could project a line on the road showing a selected route, help you find the appropriate gear ratio based on the terrain gradient, and display the current wind speed, your current cadence, heart rate, and power output to help you to optimize your ride and performance.

Such an Augmented Reality Assistance for Cycling (ARAC) system could provide tremendous assistance to cyclists, whether recreational, amateur, and professional.  The ARAC system needs to be connected all the instruments on the bike and the Internet to function properly.  Cellular data connections would be used to consume web services and provide information for navigation, weather, wind speed and other valuable information.  With cycling gaining popularity this device could be revolutionary.

2.  Example Scenario

Imagine you are in a race or out for a training ride in the country.  You are constantly looking down at your cycling computer to see your current speed, heart rate, power output, and cadence. Then you look up and realize you have been so concentrated on the computer that you have no idea where you are.  You have two choices, you could backtrack to try and get back on route, or you could pull out your iPhone to try and find your way back.  Now imagine if the glasses you are wearing could prevent this entire situation.  Instead of constantly looking down at your computer for valuable information all you have to do is pay attention to the road because this information is overlaid onto your view by your glasses, enabling you to see it and the road.  Not only could your ARAC glasses display this information in real-time but they could also overlay a line on the road ahead of you showing you exactly where you need to go.

Now imagine you are riding along another day.  It’s a hot day and you’ve been riding for hours.  You are getting tired but continue your ride.  Little do you know a sleep impaired driver is a quarter of a mile behind you and when the car passes you are nearly hit but the near miss causes you to lose control and end up in the ditch.  Cyclists are always worried about that one driver that will not be paying attention.  What if the same glasses you wear during your rides could provide you navigation and other important cycling information, and could point out and warn you of a hazard in front of you or a hazard coming up behind you?

3.  Requirements

The Augmented Reality Assistance for Cycling (ARAC) need to provide a cyclist with any important information they may normally receive from their cycling computer.  This information includes at least the following:

  • Location
  • Navigation (turn-by-turn with route overlaid on the road ahead)
  • Current weather information
  • Current wind speed
  • Future weather information based on the rider’s expected destination
  • Current speed, max speed, average speed
  • Timer
  • Current cadence, max cadence, average cadence
  • Current power, peak power, average power
  • Current heart rate, heart rate zone, time in heart rate zone
  • Camera and hazard recognition algorithm, including car recognition algorithm
  • Access to remote resources via smartphone

4.  Current Technologies

The ARAC system behaves similarly to the Google’s Project Glass[i], an augmented reality head-mounted display system that overlays digital information onto the lens of the glasses as seen in Figure 1 and Figure 2.  “Augmented reality is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input” such as vital cycling information and location data for the ARAC system.[ii] It requires the use of the current cellular data infrastructure by tethering to a smartphone to share its data connection.  The ARAC system uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to communicate with a 3G or 4G enabled smartphone.  The system also uses the ANT+/ANT PLUS protocol and adapter for smartphone communication with speedometers, cadence sensors, heart rate monitors, and power meters.
Figure 1
Figure 1: Google Project Glass map augmentation.[iii]
Figure 2
Figure 2: Google Project Glass weather augmentation.[iv]

5.  Architectural Approach

5.1.  Information Models

The ARAC system uses the current cellular data 3G and 4G infrastructures for Internet access by tethering to a 3G/4G enabled smartphone.  An Internet connection is necessary for consuming web services that provide information for navigation, weather, wind speed and other information that will be presented to the user.  The glasses in the ARAC system are relatively simple and are used to do not require complex and expensive hardware; rather the system uses a smartphone’s shared resources, such as cellular network, CPU, and flash storage.

The ARAC system requires connection to bike mounted sensors in order to access and augment power, heart rate, speed, and cadence data.  The common protocol for communication with sports sensors is the ANT+/ANT PLUS protocol.  The ANT+/ANT PLUS wireless technology protocol allows sports monitoring devices to reliably communicate sports, wellness and home health data.[vii], [viii]

6.  ARAC System

To work the ARAC system requires a connection between the augmented reality glasses and a smartphone.  The smartphone will provide resources such as cellular data, GPS, processing and storage that the glasses will display to the user.  To display useful information to the user the system requires connection to ANT+/ANT PLUS sports monitoring devices (e.g., power meter, cadence sensor, speed sensor, heart rate monitor, etc.).  To allow a smartphone to communicate with ANT+ devices it needs an ANT+ adapter like the Garmin ANT+ adapter for iPhone.[ix]

7.  Conclusion

With cycling gaining popularity an Augmented Reality Assistance for Cycling (ARAC) could provide tremendous assistance to all cyclists, whether recreational, amateur, or professional.  To work, ARAC needs to be connected all the instruments on the bike, and to the Internet.  Cellular data connections are used to query web services and provide information for navigation, weather, wind speed and other valuable information.  This system helps to keep riders safe, alert, and informed of their surroundings because they will not continue to look down at their handlebar-mounted computer.

[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Glass

[ii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality

[iii] http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_606w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2012/04/04/Business/Videos/04042012-58v/04042012-58v.jpg?uuid=AcGm2H6JEeG_hEz71OdQ3Q

[iv] http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2012/04/04/article-2125139-1277E78E000005DC-706_306x300.jpg

[v] http://www.oakley.com/images/catalog/generated/750×350/15/4f43dfdfe8200.jpg

[vi] http://images.apple.com/iphone/home/images/gallery_design.jpg

[vii] http://www.thisisant.com/consumer/ant-101/what-is-ant/

[viii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANT%2B

[ix] https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=103887&ra=true

[x] www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/race_performance/madone_7_series/madone_7_9



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