Hacking my bike with a black box flight recorder
Posted: Jun 26 2016
People tell me that cycling in Singapore is dangerous, and drivers are crazy.
As a Kiwi, who has been living the dream in Singapore for the last nine months, I can vouch for this – in fact; it’s nearly as dangerous as riding on the roads in New Zealand! Luckily, as a guy who loves both riding and tech gadgets I’ve prepared myself.
The idea was to find a recording “black box” for my bike – like planes have (hopefully I have less dire consequences for when to use it). I have my iPhone and apps for location mapping, Heart Rate monitor and Apple Watch for vitals. Then it occurred to me that all drivers over here have video recording to trap incidents and near-incidents. Why not the same for my bike?
So I tried traditional cameras. With little success. Both the battery life and the need to manage recordings made this unwieldy.
Luckily, with my love of gadgets I’d supported an NZ startup called meMINI sometime back. These clever guys put together a Kickstarter campaign that was nearly 200% oversubscribed back last year. Their simple idea was a small, rugged camera, with a great battery and a continuous recording mechanism, that saves the last 5 minutes (or less if you prefer) at a press of a button or app. The camera mounts to clothing via a super strong magnet, or with a go-pro type mounting attachment. It arrived a couple of months back to me in Singapore.
So, I’ve locked it onto the bike, and I’m now set! Mounted on my front forks, it gets a nearly 180-degree view of the road ahead (and of anyone trying to T-bone me!!).
Touch wood - I haven't had to use it in anger so far. But I’m glad it’s there to speak for me if I can't coherently! And I know it’s getting better too. I’ve spoken with the meMINI guys, and they are looking at ways to use the inbuilt accelerometer in the camera (and iPhone) to trigger on “event”. Now that would be cool.
Finally, a word to the wise. I bought a second of these babies for the back of my bike. Unfortunately, on my first day of using it the go-pro buckle failed during a ride, and now an anonymous local is now the proud owner of a meMINI. When I buy my next one, I’ll be using the lanyard as a safety strap!
Guest post from meMINI Customer James Walls