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Smart thinking cyclists puts safety first for Cyclops

By Callum Gwynne - Posted on 10 April 2014

Callum Gwynne, an undergraduate student from the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School discusses a new idea using smart phones to keep cyclists safe on the roads…

More and more people are taking to the roads and cycling – whether for work or play you will see more people out on their bikes than ever before. One of the down sides to this is that with more cyclists comes the potential for more accidents. It’s something I’ve certainly seen more of on the news and a way of trying to reduce the numbers of accidents was the inspiration for my team’s recent entry into the Values and Ventures competition in Texas, USA.

As part of our course work at the Hunter Centre a group of five of us were tasked with coming up with a business idea. One of our team, Emil Merrild, from Denmark was a huge cycling fan and we hit on the idea of developing a camera system to let cyclists see what’s behind them while on the roads.

Technology like this does already exist but it’s expensive and you have to buy all the kit. We thought that if we could develop an App for use on a smartphone we would dramatically reduce the costs, while promoting safety to the widest possible range of cyclists.

The idea for the ‘Cyclops’ system itself is pretty simple. You fix a phone bracket onto your handlebars which holds your phone. A downloaded App connects via wi-fi direct to a camera mounted on the back of the bike. This beams a picture of the road behind you onto a screen. If a car, van or lorry starts to get too close an alarm will sound, giving the cyclist the maximum amount of time to respond. This proximity feature is one of many exciting features incorporated within ‘Cyclops’.

We were one of around 20 teams looking to travel to Texas and were lucky enough to have been picked out to travel to the United States where we will battle it out among 28 other Universities to try to win the top prize of $25,000 dollars.

With this idea we hope to have a positive impact on the environment – promoting greener and more sustainable ways of living through protecting and therefore encouraging cyclists. Whatever the result the chance to meet and network with leading entrepreneurs will be a fantastic opportunity that we are all really excited about. Strathclyde Business School has form in the competition with Team Revive one of the winners last year (no pressure). As a second year student I never expected to be at this stage of developing a business and the practical experience we are all gaining from the experience will be invaluable as we move closer towards entering the world of work. Keep your eyes open – Cyclops could be coming to a town near you soon!

Are you concerned about the safety of cyclists? Would you be interested in using your phone to stay safe on the roads? Let us know in the comments below…

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