When Piet Morgan was in college, he decided he was going to ride his bike across the country from New York to San Francisco. He had been an avid cyclist since he was a child in South Africa, so when he came to the US to study at Yale University, it made total sense to complete this trek.
While cycling, however, Morgan realised that it was incredibly difficult to navigate on a bike.
You can’t just grab your phone from your pocket to look up directions on Google Maps. And even if you could, there aren’t really any great bike-specific routes on any navigation app. So Morgan decided to create a bike-navigation system himself.
Having also been into planes as a kid, Morgan decided to borrow the light system that pilots use for landing in the dark. He designed the first prototype himself and recruited a fellow cyclist and friend form South Africa, Laurence Wattrus, to take over the physical hardware.
They ended up with a T-shaped gadget that clips onto the front of the bike. It syncs with an app that integrates both navigational and social functionalities.
And voilà, you have the Hammerhead.
Before getting on a bike, cyclists can search the Hammerhead app for paths based on either end location or total mileage. They can also look at routes shared by friends. Once they select the route and get started, the Hammerhead gadget will light up the directions.
So when a left turn is coming up the lights will flash to the left. The intensity of the flashing increases as you near the turn. The angle of the flashing lights also represents whether it’s a soft or hard turn. And if cyclists miss a turn, the Hammerhead signals a U-turn by lighting up forward and backward.
The Hammerhead rates routes based on distance, scenery, nature, weather and hills, and then updates its database accordingly. Users can also share the routes with their friends.
Hammerhead is preparing to begin selling their first product in September, and consumers can preorder on their website, with one Hammerhead going for $US85. And even though the first-generation product has yet to hit the market, the team is already working on a second-generation device to follow up with.
“The bike is at this point one of the most common vehicles in the world,” Morgan told Business Insider. “There are actually almost three times as many bikes as cars produced, and there isn’t a good way for them to get around.
“[Hammerhead] will help find safer routes and facilitate sharing routes with friends. What I like to think of it as is unlocking the awesome bike routes that are hiding in plain site because there’s no way to identify or follow them. I see it as something that will really benefit cyclists in the urban environment but also competitive bikers.”
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.