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Questions and ideas for a "bike mode"

asked 2015-02-22 01:04:44 +0300

Yo gravatar image

updated 2015-04-13 19:53:52 +0300

Hi there!

Today the weather was fine so I thought I'd take my bicycle for a ride. I happen to have a USB charging port powered by a hub dynamo and of course a handlebar mount. I wanted to be able to regularly glance at the map but there were two problems:

  • Every time the dynamos power was sufficient to charge Jollas battery the phone switched on it's display thus consuming more power. The dynamo was not able to generate the additional power so the Jolla stopped charging immediately.
    Via this post it seems possible to avoid waking the phone, but I don't know if there are consequences in shutting down powerd. Also you can read there that Jollas kernel wakes the phone when a charger is connected. This also has to be sorted out.
  • When I wanted to look at the map I always had to unlock the phone and then select my favourite map viewer.
    This can be avoided by exploiting a bug.

Another thing that I thought was that it would be nice to have fast access to screen brightness and that I would like that the screen only blanks out when I push the power button.

That brought an idea to my mind:

What if my Jolla had a bike mode, that does all this?

Is it even possible to create a program that does this? Keeping display on, changing brightness with volume keys, set the current running app as lock screen? Ideas and hints are welcome!

BTW: If anyone has an idea for my first problem, possibly with some funky mcetools setting, please do tell me!

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I really like the idea. I immediately came to think of a TOH that would enable this bike mode. This TOH could have an integrated handlebar mount and maybe even connect to velocity and cadence meters. This is actually something I might look further into... Don't hold your breath, though :)

Okw ( 2015-02-22 01:39:20 +0300 )edit

This is something I would also be interested in, especially if comes with some funky attachment mechanism for the handlebars (but please nothing that needs to be permanently fixed to them). I do a fair amount of road cycling and would really benefit from having the phone in front of me with a preloaded GPS track that I can follow, and maybe some guidance for turns and such. No I need to stop and dig the phone out from my back pocket to look where I need to turn and if I'm still on the right path.

2Ti ( 2015-02-22 16:38:08 +0300 )edit

If the ambiance concept would be more powerfull it could be used to switch to bike/car-mode.

avdwoude ( 2015-02-23 08:49:06 +0300 )edit

I was going to propose the same idea. IMO, the "Bike TOH" should have the following features:

  • easy installation on any bike
  • compatibility with all hub dynamos and plugs
  • may not disable or reduce bike lightning: when the environment gets dark (under a bridge, evening,...) it should instantly stop taking any of the generated power so that the lightning gets the full power for the best visibility
  • easy to (de)connect the phone
  • the phone needs to be in a full waterproof TOH casing
  • the casing needs to be very strong and protect the phone (e.g. maintain biking use)
  • start bike mode: handsfree calling, bike map with support for (next node number on screen, distance to next node, estimated time to next node), current speed, average speed, total distance, hub dynamo power statistics, estimated arrival time, and so forth.

Nice optional additions:

  • USB port to charge other phones

  • A good anti-theft lock to keep the phone on the bike and software to protect bike theft. Use case: when on a biking trip with friends, you stop to rest and drink a cool beer. So, you physically lock the phone. TOH communicates this to the phone. The phone software will enter anti-theft mode: the phone will be locked, incoming calls will be muted, and it will optionally ask for 1 or more mobile phone numbers. You enter the number(s) of your friend(s). If your bike moves a little, an SMS will be sent to your friend(s) and a flashing red warning will appear: "DO NOT STEAL THIS BIKE!". If the bike moves even more, the phone will start a loud alarm. When you later unlock the TOH, the phone will close the anti-theft mode.

  • Integrate real-time weather information like the apps and do, but in a more advanced way: it should take into account your current speed and the trip you are doing.

22sander ( 2015-02-25 12:53:25 +0300 )edit

More details on the integrated real-time weather information:

For instance, it should automatically propose an alternative route if heavy rainfall is approaching your route. Or it can propose to stop at the nearby pub to shelter before it starts raining if it sees there are no other shelter opportunities further on before it starts to rain.

Use cases: * It will start raining in 30 minutes at a spot. The apps detects that at your current speed you can avoid getting wet if you change your route. It will ask you to do this or to continue. * It will start raining in 20 minutes. The apps detects that you cannot avoid the rain if you continue your trip. The app shows a screen "Unavoidable rain expected in 20 minutes", "rainfall is low/moderate/heavy", and will last for probably "30 minutes", "Do you want me to look for shelter?" Yes: The app looks for possible shelter opportunities nearby your route and shows them to you in a list. When you select one, it will guide you to this shelter. The whole time it will show a counter: "rainfall in X minutes and Y seconds". When it starts raining, this counter will change: "Rainfall will stop in X minutes and Y seconds".

22sander ( 2015-02-25 13:19:07 +0300 )edit

5 Answers

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answered 2015-03-10 14:24:34 +0300

spiiroin gravatar image

updated 2015-09-21 09:23:04 +0300

Sounds like "stay-dim" blanking inhibit mode would be quite good match: The display still gets dimmed after a while, but does not turn off/get locked, app stays in foreground and getting back to normal brightness can be done by tapping anywhere on the display.

Except the on-off charging fouls it completely (display state restore after charging notification uses dimmed=off). And orientation changes can cause unwanted dimmed-on transitions.

But you could try it out (and leave the charger disconnected):

mcetool --set-inhibit-mode=stay-dim

Back to normal via

mcetool --set-inhibit-mode=disabled

... or toggle the "keep display on while charging" toggle in the display settings ui twice; 1st press selects "stay-on-with-charger" and 2nd one "disabled"

I'll file some tasks to remedy the problems mentioned above, but can't make any promises when they might get implemented.

EDIT: More or less related changes that have been implemented, but not released yet

Stop orientation changes from keeping display on. Allows display to dim/blank even if the device rotates along with bike/handlebars, but disables flip over gesture detection too.

mcetool --set-orientation-sensor-mode=disabled

If display is dimmed when call/alarm/etc causes the display to turn on, it is restored to dimmed state after the condition ends instead of blanking. Makes stay-dim inhibit modes more usable.

Stop start of charging from turning display on:

mcetool --set-exception-length-charger=0

Stop usb cable attach from turning display on:

mcetool --set-exception-length-usb-connect=0

EDIT2: The above mentioned tweaks are available >= 1.1.7.x

In subsequent releases it will be additionally possible to partially/fully ignore blank prevention -> navigator app on top keeps the display on, but the display still gets dimmed after specified timeout -> takes less power and can be brought back to normal brightness by tapping anywhere on the screen.

EDIT3: Implemented, but not released yet

Allow display to dim or blank even if some application is using blank prevention:

mcetool --set-blank-prevent-mode=<disabled|keep-on|allow-dim>

Stop orientation changes from activating dimmed display without losing flip over gesture detection:

mcetool --set-orientation-change-is-activity=<enabled|disabled>
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Sounds feasible. In general mce could get some enhancements and should be partly accessible via settings. Tweaking the delay of long-tapping could be an example for such an enhancement usable for bike mode, if delay was too short while used biking.

lakutalo ( 2015-03-11 04:12:09 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-09-29 12:44:24 +0300

kandelabra gravatar image

I think that such mode can (should?) be implemented via Ambience - but it requires more options in Ambience. Ambience is potentially very powerful feature, but they need to be more wholesome not just wallpapers.

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answered 2015-03-11 10:16:10 +0300

cemoi71 gravatar image

updated 2015-03-18 09:22:55 +0300

other alternatives all are done for ios and android, from brand new startups the difference is that by cobi all stuff are supplied for a standard bike (hub included) ridehelios already exist and has currently just an ios app. And cobi is on the way to be produced.

If someone know similar device, could make the list longer.

I can't currently do something this year because of a lot of personal things to do. But if someone need help for a little financial participation (paypal or something like this) for it. maybe with testing too.
then count me in :-)

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So I managed to wait to long, wanted to suggest the cobi thing too. Maybe we can manage to get a cobi device, so that someone can develop a native app and/or a TOH.

xllndr ( 2015-03-11 11:29:07 +0300 )edit

@xllndr nice idea.

cemoi71 ( 2015-03-18 09:22:07 +0300 )edit

The cobi project requires the latest version of android, and also uses Bluetooth LE - so will not work with the current jolla phone (or at least you wont be able to utilise all the features). See

Ryan ( 2015-05-28 16:20:21 +0300 )edit

@Ryan On your link i don't see LE both have bluetooth 4.0. And jolla phone has Bluetooth 4.0 EDR HS. Is not not compatible with LE? i'll make a little research, i recognize that i made me no idea on it. (Bluetooth 4 for both then it ok...)

cemoi71 ( 2015-05-28 16:54:54 +0300 )edit

as i understand, cobi has the bluetooth 4.0 which is per definition already low energy. Jolla has the v4.0 (the same) plus edr and hs which are optionals (and obviously to be used with the most common BT smart product that a smartphone usually used). then i think there no restrictions too use cobi with the jolla phone. If someone could confirm it...

cemoi71 ( 2015-05-28 17:15:07 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-04-29 11:26:03 +0300

rgrnetalk gravatar image

updated 2015-04-29 11:40:02 +0300

For bike riders in the Netherlands or Belgium: I just released "knooppunt" on Openrepos. Knooppunt is a simple app to read downloaded gpx files with vertices (Dutch: knooppunten) on your Jolla and present the vertices in large fonts.

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answered 2015-09-21 12:25:36 +0300

mariner gravatar image

It is not clear to me if the original question relates to a new device or the existing phone. My response is really aimed at a new Jolla Phone, if it ever happens. The Other Half is not an ideal solution for most of these requirements, but is a way of bolting on a fix for something that was not designed in to the device early enough. Any cycling or portable device needs to be as rugged as possible. The Other Half just creates more possibilities for failure due to intermittent connection or bandwidth restrictions, whether this is by direct contact or otherwise. The solution really is for the maximumum hardware capability to exist when the device is manufactured, so at the worst extra features can be added later by software/firmware. My understanding of a smart phone is that the phone is a minor part of the functionality and the key for me to be able to use for many of these applications like cycling, hiking, smart devices prototyping, mapping and measuring instrument, calculators, is that the device should function just as well without any sort of wirelesss or wired connection. External connectivity is just another occasional requirement. Obviously special purpose sensors etc cannot be built in and may need to be connected externally wired or wireless. The other major issues for cycling, as has been mentioned, are battery life and display visiblity. Cycling and hiking just make these far more difficult than normal phone usage as there is more of a need to be running at full power for extended periods and less chace of recharging. It is noticeable that the best Garmin devices can only run for about 8-10 hours continuously and still use very low resolution screens. Perhaps there is a need for a switchable ultra low power mode which can be enabled reducing funtionality to a bare minimum and only running a specific application - low resolution display, no comms, etc etc. Another cycle application, also considered by Cobi, is as a controller for an electric bike. This would at least mean a source of external power. Finally will there ever be a time when phones can have solar cells built in as a backup in the same way as many calculators? This would be particlarly useful for cycling.

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Asked: 2015-02-22 01:04:44 +0300

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Last updated: Sep 29 '15