Published: 19th June 2021
This Bengaluru start-up's navigation device hooks up to your helmet and will guide you around town
This modular device hooks up with your smartphone with the help of Bluetooth after you download their app. That's all you need to do, except revving up your engine and be guided by its technology
Admit it, riding a bike and referring to Google Maps is a pain. Quite literally. Not only do you have to take your eyes off the road to look at a screen you might give yourself a crick in the neck. Save yourself, and your neck, the trouble and let's check out what Navisor is offering.
The whole conundrum begins when you have to navigate. Your car, Google Maps and you work well together only because of the phone mount which allows you to refer to Google Maps without drifting away too far from your field of vision. But what about bikes? The answer is Navisor, a sleek device that attaches itself to your helmet, around the same place as your chin guard. Connect it to your app via Bluetooth, key in your destination and vroom away with the help of visual cues the device offers. If you have a turn coming up on your left, the LED on the left lights up and the one on the right glows red if your right turn is right ahead. Nothing distracting, after all, riding is serious business, just linear LED lights embedded in your reality. "More like one-dimensional augmented reality (AR) that remains in your field of vision. It doesn't divert your attention and yet is as efficient as it gets," says Milind M Manoj, CEO, PupilMesh, the start-up which had developed this wonder device.
And mind you, this is not something that is far off in the future or in the near future. It is happening right now, pilot studies are going on for this peripheral AR device and if you wish, you can sign up for one too. Incorporated in November 2018, a team of 12 engineers have been working on Navisor non-stop from March 2019 to around July 2020 and right up to December 2020, when it was launched. "Initially, we designed an AR helmet that would help the rider navigate, take calls and talk to other people using an intercom. The idea actually made it to the top ten of the India Innovation Challenge Design Contest 2017, but alas, putting together such an ambitious product makes for a very expensive deal. So, with the help of a Rs 20 lakh seed funding from IIM Bangalore, where we were incubated previously, we went back to the drawing board and decided to focus on solving just one universal problem that plagues all bikers," elaborates the 23-year-old. The problem they decided to focus on was navigation.
The Navisor app works with MapmyIndia, a tech company that builds digital map data and uses its navigation information. The device itself, weighing eight grams, has LED lights on both ends of the vision to offer visual cues. The LED patterns are simple to understand, flashing to the right and left as per the directions in real-time. Also, it can weather rain and wind, sun and shine and a lot more. Along with visual cues, you can opt for their audio module which will sit within the foam padding of your helmet and instruct you when it comes to directions. It will also assist you to take calls and listen to music. "Combined, they offer a wholesome experience," says Milind who pursued his BTech in Electronics and Communications Engineering (2015-2019) from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, where all of his team comes from as well.
Take a look
Speaking of the team, they are now working on version 2.0 of the Navisor equipped with crash detection, if you meet with an accident, it'll send a message to your SOS contacts immediately. How's that for an update? Also, they are pre-incubatees at SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) at IIT Bombay.
"When we were starting out, we consulted a small biker's group. They rated their navigational experience as 2.5 out of 5. Now, without our pilot and about 100 customers on board, people are rating their navigational experience with Navisor 4 out of 5," says the youngster who sounds like he is after a full five-star rating.
For more on them check out navisor.in