Tag Archives: bicycling and AR

AR + Tour de France Notes

I am now working on a book about AR, roads and transportation. The following is from a section about AR and the Tour de France.

Hello reader.


In Spring of 2019, I was excited to discover that the world of cycling had a growing number of AR apps and products. Excited because, previous to these discoveries, I could only find three successful examples of AR.

The first was Pokemon Go but, as huge as it was, it created the misleading impression that AR was only for games. Next: 19 Crimes, an Australian wine company that achieved massive success largely due to their series of AR "living wine labels”. The third example was Ikea, whose AR app allowed buyers to "insert" digital models of furniture into their real homes, so as to visualise the ideal purchase.

Also, there were many exciting AR projects in medicine and industry, but these uses required expensive viewing devices, like the Hololens.

So, when I discovered cycling goggles with AR functionality? Great! An AR app that allowed users to customize a bike and then order it? Yes! An AR bike repair manual? Yes, again! These  simple uses were practical, but with hints of openness, adventure and excitement. Vitality!

By July 2019, when I gave a presentation at the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA),  I thought I had discovered all that there was in the world of (AR +bicycles). I invented the word “arbicle”, defined as bicycle devices utilizing AR. I learned that the safest, most successful AR/bicycle interactions would require an AR network that includes vehicles, drivers, pedestrians and everything connected with roads. I began a book about bikes and AR.

And then I thought I had a good idea. To break up all of the technical ideas, and to inject some excitement into the book, I decided to write about futuristic uses of AR in the Tour de France. I came up with ideas like “fatigue hawks”, “blood hawks” and “wind hawks", terms that would be applied to specialized data scientists who coached cycling teams.


After writing a  blog post about “fatigue hawks” and then writing about theoretical uses of AR at the Tour de France, I discovered the NTT website, outlining what they had done for the 2019 Tour de France, and what their future plans were.

Although the NTT website doesn’t use exciting names like “blood hawks”, they do use data in exciting ways, especially in the areas of data collection/processing, AR, 3D mapping and AI. NTT is making media history. Pioneers, they are leaving the safe continent of broadcast television to venture into the uncharted islands of billions of mobile devices.

NTT’s advancements will continue to have huge effects upon the Tour de France and beyond. Much more info at https://hello.global.ntt/en-us/tourdefrance

And no, NTT is not sponsoring this (nor is anyone else). Having said that I would be happy to write about NTT's London headquarters, or their facility dedicated to the Tour de France, in Mulhouse, in eastern France.


Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure 2019 (GOBA) 2 of 2

part one is here

The future of AR in the world of bicycling
A chart depicting the hypothetical uses of augmented reality in the world of bicycling
The map illustrates the routes followed by Chris Register as he interviewed people for his book called Conversations with US.
Wenda, and her stunning quilts made form Tshirts. wendacoburn.com

GOBA info is here.

Info about augmented reality and the world of bicycling is here.

Tour de France: AR for the Win #1: Fatigue Hawks

The following has been revised. This post explains why.

A slightly futuristic, highly realistic series of posts…

Arbicle- a piece of bicycling equipment utilizing AR, augmented reality.
I created the word above. In this post, a number of possible ideas and technologies are mentioned. Some may already be in use. However, now, there are no pieces of equipment designed specifically for the uses I mention. So, I have created the word “arbicle”, a combination of AR and bicycle. A small word and easy to "handle", it resembles the word ‘article’: arbicle.

What I am imagining are devices (arbicles) built specifically for the purpose of displaying or generating digital information related to bicycling. (This series of posts focuses upon racing.)

Note: I am not a medical specialist of any sort, and the following are not to be taken as anything more than theoretical exercises.

AR for the win #1: Fatigue Hawks

In this theoretical situation, we assume the following:

  • There are extensive performance, muscle fiber and blood analysis records for all racers. Data related to performance on similar roads and inclines is especially valuable.
  • Blood, saliva, and possibly urine tests can be quickly and periodically be conducted on racers for such things as: myoglobin levels, lactate clearance rate and other biochemical markers related to fatigue.
  • The above information can be combined with live feeds of: the peloton, wind and weather information, road gradient information.
  • Two way communication exists between the fatigue hawk and team members.

The fatigue hawk analyzes all of the data that is presented. Customized algorithms are used.

Communicating with voice, symbols and messages, the fatigue hawk offers suggestions on how to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses of the team itself. Equally important, the fatigue hawk identifies opportunities, and weaknesses of opposing teams.

Data may reveal the leading team's difficulty with hills for example. By monitoring his/her own team's performance, the wind conditions and the gradient of an upcoming hill, the fatigue hawk can strategize and communicate so that advancement upon the leader can be made.

There are many uncontrollable factors in the Tour de France, but a strong collection of live data is information; and information is power. In the case of the Tour de France, the power is that of an athlete who cannot afford to waste a single kilojoule.

Studying the 1989 Tour de France, much can be learned about efficiency and power; the difference between first place and second was eight seconds.

The rider's arbicles would include a GPS tracking device and a visor capable of displaying the fatigue hawk's symbols and messages. Rearview and frontview cameras are also possibilities.

The fatigue hawk would need an arbicle capable of processing all incoming live data, storing records and communicating audio/visual data to the team members, individually and as a whole.


I am a writer, researcher, AR producer and artist. No one is sponsoring this; I am now preparing a book on AR and Bicycle Safety. My other books are here.


For further information:


What is Fatigue? New Yorker article by Alex Hutchison

The Science of Running: How to Find Your Limit and Train to Maximize Your Performance by Steve Magness

Hey Turbosquid, please don’t sue me! Think creative commons + free advertising.

Hello Turbosquid! As we all know Turbosquid provides excellent 3D models for use by game makers and builders of virtual worlds.

May I suggest that you allow the screen captures on your website to be used as something like a Creative Commons license? Doing so would allow energetic AR producers like myself, as well as all kinds of creatives to use those striking images... and we would be happy to credit you and the maker of the models. In short, we would be advertising for you!

I respect the model maker's skills and economic needs, and hope this idea can help promote them.

This suggestion is prompted by the following situation.

A presentation about AR and its impact upon the world of bicycling.
Stephen Black's presentation at the 419 Room, on Augmented Reality and Bicycling
  1. The creator of the powerful bike image was credited, both in the paper flyer (20 copies made in total) and here and here on line.
    The credit link went here, the cgstudio online shop.
  2. The poster suddenly had to be made, less than 24 hours before the event, Ride of Silence. A strong simple image was immediately needed.
    The day after the poster was done, I contacted the maker, explaining and hoping they would agree that the use of the image is actually advertising/ a showcase for them/TurboSquid.
    The reply was that I could not use the image because I did not pay for the model. I wrote a second, positive email, explaining that I was actually advertising for them. The response was that I should contact TurboSquid and "everything is recorded".

  3. I have not made any money from AR since I began researching/began a startup three years ago. The event is free. At present I do not even have a company set up.

Thank you Turbosquid for thinking about this...

Stephen Black

Hummingbirdsday provides the best branding and marketing solutions for tech startups. This screen capture features a game idea featuring Green Bean Boy, a character developed by Dominique Wu, the founder of Hummingbirdsday. Here Green Bean Boy enjoys a meal with Bubiko Foodtour.
Screen capture from an AR game by Dominique Wu. Although this version of Bubiko is 2D, it exemplifies cross-promotion. This still is from a Green Bean Boy game idea by Dominique Wu/Hummingbirdsday Studio

PS Another 3D project I am involved with are the Dundercats. With both the Dundercats and Bubiko, we would certainly talk to creatives about using the characters in exchange for promotion. On a case, by case basis of course.

PSS If you happen to be a 3D model maker who has images of bikes/bike parts/bike riders in wireframes, and ARE COOL WITH CROSS-PROMOTION...drop me me a line! I am not making any money yet, but things look very good when we get our AP app out. Here is a bit about me. Thanks for reading to the very bottom of this post!

Cycling and Augmented Reality

There is much more AR/Bike info here.


The presentation at the 419 Room will be from 5:30-6:30 on Tuesday May 21. We can hang around and have another coffee afterwards.

Stephen Back's presentation at the 419 Room, on Augmented Reality and Bicycling
Background image: https://www.cgstudio.com/3d-model/cyclist-athlete-in-red-suit-on-bicycle-353909

The presentation is for a general audience and is not technical. The basics of AR will covered, along with examples of how AR is changing the world of bicycling, including safety, navigation, racing, and body monitoring. There will also be some speculation on how AR could impact the Northwestern Ohio bicycling world.

Admission could possibly be $5 (now checking to see if this permissible with Rustbelt) or a social media post or two emails to interested parties. CC: AR2wheels@gmail.com

This is a self-funded project; no sponsorship and no sales of any kind.


I am also prepared for presentations all kinds of AR-themed presentations. For example: for children, for finance, for businesses, for parties, events and for general audiences. Consulting services are also available. email: ar2wheels@gmail.com



The following is for a presentation I will be doing in June, in association with GOBA, the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure. The presentation is not open to the public.

My background,including the presentation at MIT.

My books.


Ar entrepreneur Stephen Black interview
Kevin Turley interviewing Stephen Black

I will be sharing information and doing demonstrations for a general audience. This is not a technical presentation; it will be entertaining and informative for bicyclists of all ages.

I am not affiliated with any of the companies and there are no sales pitches of any kind. I recently gave a talk about AR at MIT. At the bottom of this post is a flyer for the workshops and presentations I gave at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

If you have any suggestions or questions, add them in the comments section. Thank you! (There will be additions and refinements made to this post as it gets closer to the live presentation. Stop back!)

This link explains how the Cannondale/AR/Vuforia platform evolved. A bit technical, but interesting.

Rouvy indour training

An article about an AR being tested in England to increase bicycle use by teens and other groups not normally bike active.

Bike construction project by Prefrontal Cortex

Velonews report on AR smartglasses.


I do many things, including write books, one of which is a bestseller.

Speaking of writing, Chris Register will also be at the GOBA event, and he has written a series of books based on his journey across America by bicycle. The book is called Conversations With US, and there is a great website about it here.

AR consultants
Poster for Stephen Black's presentations and workshops at Hong Kong PolyU, July 2018