Cycling has exploded in popularity worldwide, but there remains no safe electronic navigation system for bicycles, and no comprehensive software specific to the training and social needs of cyclists. Hammerhead is solving bikers’ problems by crowdsourcing the world’s most accurate and up-to-date map of bike routes, and then safely communicating these routes to cyclists in real time with intuitive light patterns. The Hammerhead One is an intelligent navigation device that attaches to the handlebars to help cyclists ride effortlessly along the safest and best bicycle routes. It pairs with a smartphone app via Bluetooth to guide cyclists with an LED light array visible through their peripheral vision.
Objective and Context:
Hammerhead is about discovery. The company seeks to enable riders to explore the world around them and reach their full potential as athletes. From serious to casual riders, the cycling community is extremely fastidious about the technology they rely on. It was imperative that the Hammerhead One not only offer insight and direction to the rider in a safe and intuitive way, but that it did so through a sleek and appealing feature on the handlebars. The global cycling community has enthusiastically embraced Hammerhead’s minimalist and aerodynamic form.
In addition to this, the Hammerhead app provides the best social and training analytics platform available to cyclists, allowing bikers to tap into the entirety of the cycling community’s knowledge about the best routes in any given location, compete with one another in real time, follow one another’s progress, and utilize the most sophisticated analysis of training metrics available to cyclists during and post-workout, helping riders to reach their full athletic potential.
Hammerhead targets the biking community, including serious athletes, casual commuters, and sports scientists. To the serious athlete, the tool provides personalized insight into the effect variations in training has on performance by analyzing heart rate, temperature, power, distance, speed, time, cadence, and altitude. To the sports science community, Hammerhead provides the data of thousands of such individuals, giving unique insight into the functioning of the human body from a massive sample of athletes and non-athletes.
For the casual commuter, Hammerhead provides the most accurate and up-to-date bike routes available. For bikers, the shortest distance between two points is not necessarily the best route to utilize, as traffic density, bike accessibility, route topography, scenery, and a host of other factors influence the enjoyment and effectiveness of a journey. Over time, each cyclist comes to determine his or her own best routes to negotiate these factors. By allowing cyclists to create and share their own routes with the entire cycling community, and analyzing the habits of thousands of cyclists over time, Hammerhead can make recommendations to users, amplifying this expertise.
To city planners, governments, and private companies, Hammerhead’s data has become essential as cycling increasingly becomes a feature of urban life.
The initial inspiration for the design of the Hammerhead One came from pilot indication systems. The company studied how fighter pilots use an intuitive light system to land their aircrafts on moving carriers, and developed a similar form of communication for bikers. Hammerhead invented the Hammerhead One, a connected device that pairs with an app to communicate directional information and route metrics to cyclists through an intuitive light array, visible in their peripheral vision.
The Hammerhead team is comprised of passionate cyclists and endurance athletes. Through the experience of team members’ own cycling and athletic careers, as well as insights gained through focus groups and sports science professionals, Hammerhead was able to distill the most essential hardware and software features necessary to capture training data and route data. The next step was to capture and display this data in real time in an appealing, safe, and unobtrusive way. The Hammerhead One does this through a light array visible in a cyclist’s peripheral vision.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Hammerhead crowdsourced the Idea for Hammerhead One through Dragon Innovation, and in eight weeks captured the imagination of the cycling community, which expressed a deep desire to see the vision come to fruition. The company raised almost $200,000, beating its goal by over $40,000. The market demand this showed carried the brand through the 2013 Tech Stars Connected Devices Accelerator Program. Through most of the following year, Hammerhead prototyped 47 iterations of the navigation system as it worked with individuals and focus groups ranging from American National Team cyclists to mountain bikers to casual commuters. Each iteration refined the design, material, finish, and internal electronic components of the device. The manufacturing process contained its own setbacks and revisions, as Hammerhead overcame a waterproofing issue and dealt with the numerous challenges that large-scale manufacturing brings.
The technology behind the Hammerhead system is provided in three distinct verticals: ruggedized electronics, a smartphone app, and cloud services.
Each time a user utilizes Hammerhead’s app and hardware, the company gathers data on every aspect of his or her ride. The Hammerhead device is not just a communications tool, but is designed with hardware components that capture training metrics. The synthesis of these elements allow for an almost unlimited set of data points upon which to draw for insight and analysis.
The Hammerhead One device syncs with the Hammerhead smartphone app via Bluetooth to display training and directional information to the cyclist. Smartphone and GPS screens were not specifically designed for the environment of a bike and are difficult to read. Hammerhead has invented a revolutionary language of light patterns using a range of colors and a series of LEDs mounted behind a black rubbery exterior. These allow a cyclist to keep his or her focus on the road ahead while all of the essential data is absorbed through the corner of the eye.
Apart from providing directional navigation queues, the intuitive Hammerhead light display also communicates performance information to cyclists in real time. During a ride, they are able to see indicators of their time, speed, wattage, and position relative to a competitor, among other things. The app offers even greater insight in the post-workout analysis. Each time a user utilizes the app, Hammerhead gathers data on every aspect of their ride. The data collected also allows the company to provide athletes with personal insight into their own training progress. Post-workout analysis provides even greater insight into these data sets, allowing cyclists to optimize their training with the most comprehensive software system, tailored specifically to the sport of cycling. The app also has a social dimension, which allows athletes to compete with one another in real time, follow one another’s progress, and share routes across the community.
The Hammerhead One design emphasizes simplicity and sleek aerodynamic aesthetics. The app similarly emphasizes simplicity while allowing users to rapidly plan and modify their rides. The data-heavy GIS hosting and processing heft of mapping and route design is left in the cloud with GIS providers MapQuest, Mapbox, and Open Street Maps. The combination of these three services allow Hammerhead to be a cross-cultural and global operation from the outset. Cue-based navigation and international access to mapping data give the Hammerhead team an ability to provide solutions in almost every market without excessive language support or the need to customize the service in new markets.
The ability to access and synthesize data has made Hammerhead a huge success globally. Demand for the idea was evident from the successful crowdfunding campaign in the fall of 2013. The campaign closed with $200,000 worth of sales to users in 35 countries. With the release of the Hammerhead system in the fall of 2014, those figures have grown dramatically to 5,000 users in 65 countries, and the Hammerhead community continues to grow exponentially. Outside of the United States, the company has seen a great deal of traction in western Europe, which accounts for almost a third of the market to date. Asia and Latin America have grown as portions of Hammerhead’s market share in the first quarter of 2015.
Hammerhead is customized for the dynamics of the cycling and endurance sports market. There is a strong shift towards cycling motivated by convenience and increased health consciousness. The trends in sports tracking, quantified fitness, and intelligent training are opening a huge space in the market for training plans that plug directly into the equipment and apps. Hammerhead is building a community to improve the experience of cycling.