Crowdfunding OMATA, a gorgeous analog GPS Speedometer for bicycling


#1

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#2

$500 for an artisanal speedometer? No thanks.


#3

I appreciate what they’re doing here, although if I was going to spend that much on a stylish bike computer I’d want it to:

a) Charge from my hub dynamo
b) Automatically upload trip data via WiFi.

If you just want a old-school analog bike speedometer, they are pretty readily available: http://www.ebay.com/bhp/vintage-bicycle-speedometer

Although I imagine those purely mechanical speedos are probably a bit noisy, though.


#4

The Faria Beede GPS Speedo is only $80 or so, but requires a power-source and shows only speed and heading. I’m not sure if the analog-needle display is part of their patent-application claims or not. (http://www.google.com/patents/US20140225754)


#5

Finally, I’ll know exactly how fast I’m going when I get hit by a car while glancing down at the thing telling me how fast I’m going.


#6

Mechanical speedos - they work on magnets, right? Quiet.


#7

At that rate you could even go ahead and get a map to go along with it…


#8

I really like this. As technology gets more precise and richer in terms of the data it gathers, the quality of presentation and the ingestibility of the data produced almost always declines. My main problem with smartwatches is the way in which they become yet another means by which ever more demand for attention can be directed to the user. My ideal for a smartwatch would be a mechanical with an indicator for messages or email that works similarly to the power reserve on some automatics, or the date window. I can’t really usefully consume more additional data than that on a watchface sized panel anyway. It also offers me choice because it isn’t signalling to me frantically every time something happens.

Strava and other bike computers are similar - they collect tons of usable data about a ride but much of it is not presented usefully during the ride. This tool successfully converts the key data into an at-a-glance view - so @Modusoperandi may find that they spend less time looking at this than they do the alternatives.

That said, the price is out of my league right now. I’m trying to put a framebuilding workshop together without spending so much that it upsets the wife!


#9

Some may, mainly I think they use a cog with long teeth that interfaces with a punched disk attached to the spokes. Potentially pretty noisy.


#10

Er mah GERD!

This widget has a sensitive GPS receiver that knows precisely where I am at all times, and has been meticulously crafted so that I can’t possibly use it to obtain that information, even if I took a wrong turn halfway to Lodi and my last bottle ran out three hours ago?
I think that they need to design an emergency radio beacon to go with it, and then modify the user interface so that it only works as a flare gun.


#11

I do like it as a ‘statement of where technology could go’, to paraphrase the guy from the video. Sure, it’s a first-world-problem solution strictly for the Rapha shorts and Swiss watch crowd as is.

But I definitely see a place for the analogization of digital as an intentionally low-fi alternative to the current craze of all-encompassing power-metering, data-collecting Borg lifestyle tech.

Call me again when this steampunk ana-digi flight of fancy reaches ‘cheap but good’ status.


#12

This costs more than my phone, which can do what this does plus some other nifty stuff. The display is nice, but might be more desirable/affordable if it just piggybacked off of my phone wirelessly.


#13

If you’d take the time to read the text in their Kickstarter page, you’d find that it records a log that you can upload via Bluetooth or USB into your favorite tracking app such as Strava.


#14

As a guy who sells $500 Nixie tube watches, I can really appreciate the old-school coolness (and the high price) of this gizmo.

It also looks like they know what they are doing, which matters a lot with such products.


#15

Someone didn’t vet the product name to see if it means something embarrassing or crude in another language.

‘Omata’ is Japanese for ‘crotch’.


#16

So if I bring my smartphone, I can use it to find out where I am. Got it.


#17

If you bring your smartphone, it will track your route while you’re riding through the lovely scenery that has no cell coverage. My iPhone can’t do that.


#18

‘S a crock o’ shite. There is no such thing as an analog GPS.

On the inside, OMATA
One tracks everything with the same high-level of precision as the best cycling computers. All your data is recorded on the internal memory and converted into analog movement by our custom mechanical sub-assembly developed with Seiko Precision Inc.

And here are a few graphics which show that it is only a digital computer with frivolous retro display:

At the risk of sounding like a stick in the mud, I hate it when people misrepresent things as being “analog” when they aren’t. Especially in areas such as instrumentation and data collection, FFS, where choice of signal domain actually makes a huge difference.


#19

iPhones don’t have a GPS receiver built-in? My Nokia Lumia does and works well for navigation and mapping offline, without cell connectivity. It is the only smartphone I’ve ever owned, I guess I’d assumed all of them had this kind of functionality.


#20

Yes, they chose to mince words, and left out a few important ones. I’d call it a GPS speedometer with a mechanical, analog display.

I just spent a long weekend in a ten-second Chevy II Gasser with a mechanical tachometer. It has a big, armored speedometer cable running from the distributor, through holes drilled in the firewall and dashboard, into the gauge head. That’s real analog.