This week in our Patent Patrol, we found a new innovation that might just put Campagnolo back in the driver’s seat with electronic shifting… via multi-function wearable switches. Rather than relying only on wireless shift buttons on your handlebars (a la SRAM), Campy is looking into shift buttons that can be worn on your hands. Separately, Null Winds has filed for an automatically-adjusting treadmill that could be used inside of a wind tunnel, or as a high-tech at-home trainer.
Campagnolo wireless sensor patent
Campagnolo’s recent filing is an interesting one – a “wearable control unit for controlling a piece of equipment of a bicycle has a power source and a sensor powered by the power source.” According to the document, “The sensor detects targets that are physically distinct and separate from the control unit and not electrically connected to the control unit by a wire. The control unit generates and emits an electrical command in response to a change of state of the sensor brought about by entry of the target into the sensor’s detection range, and/or in response to the target exiting from the detection range of the sensor.”
Campagnolo has also thought ahead, with one embodiment of the invention using multiple sensors for multiple commands (i.e. an upshift and downshift – or perhaps multiple shifts at once).
Proximity sensors can also be placed on the bike itself in various locations, triggering shifts or other actions. There’s no word yet on if or when this will make it to the marketplace, but it’s certainly a thought-provoking concept.
Null Winds bicycle treadmill patent
Null Winds Technology has filed a few related patents – 9,766,153, 10,502,656, & EP 3152541. They’re looking to improve measurement of vehicle drag in a wind tunnel – for everything from race cars to bicycles.
It would seem that Null could use this technology to further test and validate products like their AeroDefender, beyond outdoor roll-down tests.
According to Null Winds, “The apparatus includes a running belt platform driven by a dynamometer and supporting the vehicle, to be vehicle placed inside a wind tunnel and controlled by a closed-loop servo control system, which maintains the vehicle centered on the running belt under varying operating speeds and headwind conditions. The power dissipated in drag is measured as the power transferred through groundward contact with the wheels of the vehicle.”
As stated on the Null Winds website, the patent is currently for sale or license, suggesting that they don’t intend to manufacture the device themselves.