The Beeline Velo 2 is a gorgeously minimal bicycle GPS with a carbon-negative design and Strava support

It’s difficult to believe that it’s been 7 years since the Beeline first launched back in 2017! A perfect accessory for any biker or two-wheeler rider, the Beeline instantly stood out as an incredibly simple, iconic accessory that helped you get from point A to B. Working in tandem with the navigation app on your phone, the Beeline was a simple, sophisticated, and sleek-looking accessory that basically pointed you in the direction that you needed to go. No fancy maps, no bloatware, no extra data. Just an arrow you could follow till you reached your destination. The Beeline’s simple design made it easy to keep your eyes on the road too, by offsetting the need to stare at your phone for directions and potentially get sidetracked by apps, notifications, and other distractions.

Seven years and multiple products later, Beeline just announced the Velo 2, a compact navigator for bike rides. Upgraded with an IPS LCD screen (as opposed to the original’s e-paper display), the Velo 2 retains the Beeline’s intuitive approach to wayfinding, while also giving riders access to basic metrics like distance covered, ride time, speed, ETA, and a compass, alongside the ability to plan routes, share them on apps like Strava, and even rate them in retrospect. Everything sits inside the Velo 2’s compact puck-shaped design that easily snaps on and off your bicycle, making every single step of your journey intuitive and comfortable.

Designer: Beeline

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The Velo 2 retains the beloved features of its predecessor, popularized on Kickstarter while introducing an updated user interface and additional navigation options. It’s housed in a compact, smartwatch-like round design with a 1.28-inch circular LCD IPS display, distinguishing itself visually from traditional GPS computers. The unique RockerTop interface replaces conventional buttons or touch screens, offering a distinct tactile feedback which is a notable advantage over touchscreen designs.

Unboxing reveals an eco-friendly package containing the GPS unit, a handlebar mount with two sets of O-rings, an instruction manual, and a USB-C charging cable. The Velo 2, Beeline mentions, is designed to be both carbon and plastic-negative, lining up well with the eco-friendly mode of travel that is bicycling. The device, aside from being healthy for the environment, is also designed to be entirely repairable via Beeline’s refurbishment scheme. The mounting system, though proprietary, is effective and secure, using o-rings to attach to various handlebar diameters.

The user interface emphasizes ease of use. It’s simple and intuitive, devoid of the multi-level menus and customization found in other GPS units. This simplicity extends to its functionality: the Velo 2 focuses on GPS navigation and basic ride data, foregoing connections to secondary sensors or display customizations. The main display shows an odometer, the time, battery status, and a playful bicycle graphic that moves with the computer’s orientation.

A key upgrade in the Velo 2 is its innovative approach to navigation. It leverages user feedback to refine routing, allowing cyclists to rate roads during their ride. This crowdsourced data helps Beeline incrementally improve cycling routes, avoiding poorly rated roads. The Velo 2 offers two navigation modes: a basic compass-style display pointing towards the destination and a more detailed turn-by-turn option. It also pairs directly with Strava, letting you upload rides easily, or even share them with friends and families via GPX.

While the Beeline Velo 2 might not cater to data-driven cyclists seeking extensive metrics and sensor integration, its minimalist design, intuitive interface, and innovative routing approach make it a compelling choice for those seeking a straightforward, enjoyable cycling experience.

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Airtag-inspired Google tracking device has literally the most unfortunate name ever

“Can’t find the G Spot? There’s an app for that…”
The jokes practically write themselves with this hilariously audacious fan-made concept.

It’s true that Google is the undisputed king of search, and it’s also true that Apple and Samsung have both beaten Google to the punch when it’s come to searching for actual objects in the real world… so one designer decided to take matters into his own hands. Designed less as a serious concept and more as a way to really scratch a specific itch, Italy-based Obi Fidler created the G Spot – a mildly raunchy conceptual tracker with a name so wild I’d pay good money to watch Sundar Pichai give an entire keynote on it. The G Spot (I’m glad this isn’t YouTube or I’d probably be demonetized) is a simple GPS smart tracker designed in the vein of Apple’s own AirTag. It comes with the same portable, tiny design, and can be tracked through Google’s own Find My Device and Google Maps services. Unlike the AirTag, however, this particular product comes in a variety of colors to match your sense of style…

Designer: Obi Fidler

The idea for creating a Google-made tracker started with Obi asking himself the most obvious question ever – Google’s got everything in place. The ecosystem, the map network, the hardware chops, even a highly capable Tensor chip… so why hasn’t Google built a tracking device yet? Heck, it even has the market penetration needed! (Pun intended)

The G Spot device looks almost entirely like the AirTag, with a UI that carries forward rather seamlessly to the Android ecosystem. Strap the device to your keys or put it in your backpack and you can track it through your phone the way you would a Chipolo tracker. The trackers are small, have a battery life that lasts years, and are designed with the Tensor chip on the inside to provide security. The only real problem is that they’re conceptual, although I do hope Google comes around to creating their own tracking device.

What’s hilarious yet equally amazing about this concept is just the brilliant humor behind it. Designed to be as clever as an April Fool’s prank from Google, the G Spot’s promo images are just filled with puns galore, like the one below, or the fact that the tracker cases are referenced as ‘protection’. The entire project is filled with laughs and if you got this far, I’m sure you enjoyed reading about the G Spot as much as I did writing about it. I had a few more jokes that I didn’t end up adding to my article, like this being the one true G Spot men can easily locate!

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A Honda-incubated startup designed this genius in-shoe GPS navigation system that can guide the visually impaired

Designed to integrate right into the wearer’s shoe, the Ashirase uses a series of haptic ‘tickles’ to help guide the visually impaired as they walk, providing a much more intuitive and effective alternative to using a smartphone.

The Ashirase has a rather heartbreaking backstory. Honda EV-engineer Wataru Chino began working on the concept following the death of a slightly visually impaired relative under circumstances he deemed avoidable. Determined to come up with a much more effective solution to help the blind navigate roads freely and safely, Chino saw no alternative but to craft together a design solution. Honda even helped incubate the design and build the startup through its new-business incubation initiative, IGNITION.

Armed with one less sense, visually impaired pedestrians find it incredibly difficult to navigate to unknown destinations. With their limited senses occupied in concentrating on directions, they can often forget to pay attention to their surroundings or the roads, putting them in danger. The inverse is problematic too, because when they pay more attention to their immediate surroundings, they could in the process forget to follow the directions correctly and get lost. Chino’s solution helps the impaired concentrate on the road while also being able to intuitively receive directions in a less-distracting way. The wearable sits sandwiched between the foot and the wearer’s sneaker. This frees up the user’s hand to hold onto their walking cane (as opposed to their smartphone), and allows them to use their ears to sense their surroundings (instead of listening to audio directions).

The name Ashirase comes from the Japanese word ‘oshirase’, for notice/notification, as the in-shoe wearable helps notify the wearer while they walk, effectively guiding them through a series of vibrations. The in-shoe wearable comes in two parts – a silicone band that wraps around the foot, and an electronic ‘compass’ that provides the haptic feedback. Wearables on each foot help guide the user in any direction, guiding the wearer to their end-destination that’s fed into Ashirase’s smartphone app (which also decides the most optimal path for the wearer to take). The app currently runs on the Google Maps API, which provides a few limitations like needing the internet to work, and not being able to provide effective navigation indoors, although the company is already working on overcoming those drawbacks.

Chino’s startup plans on releasing a beta version of the Ashirase system in Japan in October or November of this year, where users will be provided with free versions of the wearable and the app for testing purposes. Following the public beta, Ashirase is gunning for a commercial-ready product by October 2022, with a subscription-based payment system that should cost somewhere between $18 to $27 (or 2000-3000 Yen).

Designer: Ashirase LLC (Wataru Chino)

AT&T’s public safety network knows which floor first responders are on

AT&T’s FirstNet public safety network just received some upgrades that could make all the difference in certain emergencies. Most notably, the platform now includes vertical GPS support, or Z-Axis in AT&T-speak. It’s now possible to pinpoint...

This Fitbit-inspired dog collar is on point with keeping your pet safe and healthy!

Do you wish you could track your dog’s location in case of emergencies but don’t want to embed a tracker in his or her body? The Link smart collar offers an alternative, more pet-friendly solution with its removable GPS. However, the Link is for more than emergencies – it includes features that improve your pet’s health and quality of life every day. So, what does the Link do? The collar itself holds the GPS tracker and a LED light for visibility during night walks. Additionally, with the Link companion app, the product can log your dog’s physical fitness, vet records, and other stats related to his or her health. Basically, it’s a FitBit for your pet – keeping them happy, healthy, and safe.

From a design perspective, the Link embodies a subtly luxurious aesthetic thanks to the collar’s color-scheme, construction, and a few branding choices for the packaging. First, let’s talk about the shape of the collar. Overall, the collar maintains a slender shape, even though the GPS holder is slightly bulkier. The light brown leather also looks homey and comfortable – like a well-made pair of hiking boots: expensive but durable. The branding materials (color story, font choices, and even the product packaging) help convey a charming, but expensive look. The box itself, and the way the collar is presented in the packaging, reminds me of the packaging for a high-end wristwatch. The bright colors on the packaging also complement the collar’s brown leather shade nicely. Typical dog collars are simply hung from a hook at the pet store. The Link collar, on the other hand, comes in a box that is as beautiful as the product itself.

I appreciate the care that went into the aesthetic creation of the Link as well as its branding. The device itself is a great investment for pet owners. But the care that went into its design made it an eye-catching piece that likely attracted more pet-owners to the product.

Designer: Astro Studios

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