Most bike manufacturers use 3D printers to prototype their new bike frames and components before committing them to production. It’s a useful adjunct to CAD to allow them to assemble the parts and see how they look in the flesh. XYZprinting of the Netherlands was showing off its 3D printers, which range from a £249 mini version up to a £849 machine for larger scale, more robust objects.
London-based Snugs Earphones was demonstrating how it makes its custom fit earphones. The company takes a laser image of the shape of your outer ear channel and 3D prints a pair of earphones that exactly match it. So they shouldn’t fall out even when exercising and Snugs says that sound quality is unrivalled. The company has ambitions to add sensors to its earphones for heart rate and body temperature, so you’ll in future be able to get performance metrics without using a heart rate strap.
Ehang makes the Ghost drone. Entirely controlled via your smartphone it can fly at up to 70kph, can be controlled up to 1km away and can fly for up to 25 minutes. It shoots high definition 4k video and the top spec model comes with a virtual reality headset that lets you see what the camera is shooting.
Meanwhile Tile had its Bluetooth-enabled tracking devices on display. You attach a Tile to anything you want to keep track of, then a map-based phone app shows you where it was last located and makes it ring when you get close to it. It works in reverse too, so that you can press the button on the Tile to make your phone ring.
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It’s got real-world bike-related proof that it works too. New York-based bike builder David Weiner, founder of Priority Bicycles, placed a Tile tracker in one of his prototype frames. When it was stolen, he marked the bike’s Tile tracker as lost.
A few weeks later the location of his bike was updated on-line and he was able to head down with an angle grinder to where it was now locked up and retrieve his bike.
Finally, Canyon was showcasing its Commuter bike range, which we’ve previously ridden around London. The bikes look really smart, with their in-built front lamp, belt drive and integrated design.
The Technology Showcase runs at Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush until Sunday October 30.