Blubel is a sat nav in a bicycle bell that navigates the way for urban cyclists using a simple interface of LED lights

Introducing Blubel: community-powered navigation in a bicycle bell

A group of developers and cycling enthusiasts have created a smart bicycle bell to help urban cyclists navigate safely from A to B, while crowdsourcing useful route data from the cycling community.

Functioning much like a sat nav, Blubel has a simple interface made up of twelve LED lights, as well as an audio alert, directing cyclists turn-by-turn. Blubel also indicates the bearing of the final destination, making cycling safe in cities around the world.

The winner of the IBM and Venturespring Smart City Challenge 2015 and part of the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre Harwell, Blubel is also collecting data for the cycling community. Cyclists can mark potential hazards by ringing the bicycle bell and the Blubel smartphone app aggregates these alerts – along with other journey data – to find the safest routes for cyclists. The team plans to use these data to work with urban planners, local authorities and other road user groups to improve cycling infrastructure.

Blubel’s founder and CEO Sasha Afanasieva says: I came up with the idea for Blubel as a result of my own cycling experiences in London. Initially I wanted to get fit, so I started commuting by bike and it became my favourite part of the day; it beats public transport whatever the weather! But there were also times I found it incredibly stressful – losing my bearings, getting lost or ending up on really busy roundabouts with no easy way to check the route.

"I was amazed at how collaborative the cycling community in London is; sharing tips and information on forums and communities, and even helping strangers on the road. This got me thinking about how fantastic it would be to have a navigation device that pooled this knowledge to find the safest routes for cyclists of all levels."

Blubel is available for advance order through a new Kickstarter Campaign.

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