Bike Light Burnout
This post is not necessarily what you think, and my apologies (sort of) to the selected video I chose to highlight this point. And double apologies for the relatively negative post….must be this incessant cold that refuses to leave despite “Spring” beginning. Anyways….
The video above describes a home made projection system that displays your speed onto the ground in front of you. The mechanism is quite involved and cumbersome, but I suppose as a prototype this is to be expected. What I find more objectionable is the continuous stream of “projects” that sound relatively cool, but ultimately don’t surpass any already established bike-related gadget on the market. Why would your speed need to be projected onto the ground in front of you when bicycle computers already sufficiently and accurately display that feature without issue?
The maker then goes on to explain the possibility of projecting a GPS map onto the ground in front of you, supposedly adding a “new” feature to the bike market, but is that REALLY a practical development? A projected GPS map with turn by turn instructions would only serve to add another distraction and make concentrating on the many dangers to bicycle travel that more difficult. Sure, it SOUNDS cool, but it’s not. I really struggle to find the relevance in pushing this out to the cycling market (the maker is submitting it to a magazine so you can create your own) and assume the value ends with the original maker simply tinkering around for fun. For bike commuters, however, this is just…impractical, to be nice.
I highlight this project to make a succinct point. Just as it’s pretty darn hard to improve on “the perfect machine”, the same applies to most other niches of the bike market as well. That isn’t to say new niches can’t be created or individual mechanisms can’t be improved, but with the advent of Kickstarter, it seems like every idea, no matter how absurd, is being put out into the world without considering a few basic premises.
1. Has this product already been made?
2. Does the idea improve on the ideas that have come before it?
3. Is the functioning of my idea practical in a real world setting?
So please, by all means, invent away. But if you’re idea isn’t improving on a previous one or the execution is downright impractical, leave it on the drawing board until it can at least answer the three previous questions.
What do you think? How do you perceive innovation in the bicycle market? Are these projects beneficial or just opportunistic / tinkering?