- C O N C E P T -
There is no Light Switch on this Smart Bike?
VanMoof's Electrified-S is a Smart Bicycle that features an integrated system that includes a Pedal-Assisted Motor, Safety Lights, Bluetooth, Bike Lock, and GPS tracking. Features controlled by the VanMoof App on iOS and Android. Located on the top-bar of the frame, is a capacitive touch-control which grants the rider access to Power-Assist Mode and the Lock. There is an Advanced Menu that most riders are unaware of because it's an involved process to activate. Unfortunately, buried in that Advanced Menu is the control for the Safety Light.
The goal of this project was to redesigned the user interactions of the Electrified-S to grant the rider control of the Safety Lights as well as the Power Assist. Also, resolved a secondary issue where heavy rain may cause the Touch-Control to switch between Power Assist Modes continuously. Though unrelated, these modifications add continuity between the Basic and Advanced Menu Systems.
Riding while distracted is dangerous for both the cyclist and the public, especially at night. Rather than reaching for your phone to performing several actions to activate the lights, hold the Touch-Control for 3 seconds, release, and tap. Most people can perform this action without taking their eyes off the road.
Here is a brief intro to how the Touch-Control works on the Electrified-S.
1. Touch and hold on the center ring for 3 seconds and the system will switch to Power-Assist Settings. If you continue to hold, the Power Assist will loop through 0 to 4. Once you're in the desired Power Mode, release to activate.
2. Tapping the center ring will temporarily release the mechanism that secures the Anti-Theft Bicycle Chain.
- Over-reliance on Technology -
Keep in mind, you can only* control the Lights on the Electrified-S through the Mobile App. Sometimes it's not that easy to access my phone before or during my commute on the bicycle.
Skinny Jeans: If you're riding and that phone is in your front pocket, it's not coming out.
Gloves: You can't work a touch-phone with gloves on. Even if you have conductive gloves, which I do, it's still annoying trying to get into my pocket to fish out my phone.
Safety: Should you be distracted on the phone while riding a bicycle through the city streets?
Bluetooth: Connection to the bicycle is spotty at times. Occasionally, I'll launch the app and it will tell me to enable Bluetooth. When I go to setting, Bluetooth was enabled. If the app still doesn't connect, an app reopen will do the trick.
Automatic lights: There is an option to let the bicycle daylight sensors control the state of the Safety-Lights but that isn't a practical solution for everybody. Maybe you don't want to draw attention in certain places, or perhaps you want to conserve battery power.
*As mentioned before, there is an advanced menu that a rider can access by Pressing and Holding the Key Fob button for 9 seconds. Let go and immediately touch and hold the Touch-Control on the Bicycle for 3 seconds. After which the system is now in Advanced Settings.
- Rain -
Since the Touch Control is activated through a capacitive sensor, In the event that it is exposed to liquid, the system will register that as a touch. For example, When riding in torrential rain, the Touch-Control will activate and continuously cycle through Power-Assist Modes. This causes the rider to experience erratic power shifts while pedaling.
When asked in a survey, "Which feature will you like to see in the next VanMoof firmware update?" The most requested was, FIX Bluetooth Connectivity...😕 But the second most requested feature was to have control over the lights.
redesign the Interaction model
In the chart below you can follow the control scheme that activates, selects, and commits the settings. Using this method, riders can toggle the Safety-Lights and Power-Assist Modes in a single session. With a little practice, this can be performed without looking at the Control Panel.
I re-created the Touch-Control in Axure Pro and loaded it with conditional logic so it can perform each function within this single button element. The overall user experience is similar to the original except for a few things highlighted below:
Exterior Ring: Indicates to the user that the system recognizes an attempt to access Settings Mode. If the user continues to hold (3 seconds) the rings will fill until Settings is activated. Once in Settings, the ring will stay filled until the session ends. After which it will return to its normal function.
Interior "Quarter" Ring: Once Settings Mode is activated, the Quarter Rings can indicate multiple things depending on which Mode it's in. For Example, In the image below, the user enters the Light Settings and taps twice to enable Automatic Mode. Those actions are indicated in the Quarter Ring where 50% indicates Lights On, 100% indicates Lights ON Automatic (Daylight sensing), and 0% indicates Lights Off.
Neglecting to give the rider the manual control over the lights on the Electrified-S is a misstep. However, with a software update, it can be corrected. The solution presented above isn't the only option, but it does utilize functions that already exist in the Standard and Advanced Setting Modes. All I did was merge them and add a simple feedback indicator. Most importantly, it resolves the Primary and Secondary Issues mentioned above (except for non-capacitive gloves).
1. The rider is no longer relying on the mobile app and has manual control of the lights.
2. If activated by rain, it will cycle through Light and Power Mode without committing any settings.
VanMoof dedicated 4 years to design and build their bicycles. They loaded it with features that every cyclist needs to stay safe and protect their investment. Most innovations require trial and error to perfect. This bicycle is no different. As a proud owner and member of the VanMoof Community, I felt I should contribute my skills to nudge that process forward.
Thanks for viewing.