The Lumos Matrix is the ideal urban bike helmet for a smarter, safer day trip

With many of us are still more or less confined to our own homes and limited social spaces for the foreseeable future, and for a lot of you, that has led to a rediscovery of the joys of biking. Bike riding is a great way to spend time outdoors exploring your own town or city, and if you’re just getting into exploring this hobby, or if you’re a long-time bike rider looking for an upgrade, the Lumos Matrix smart helmet is a sensible piece of tech with a solid design that combines a number of connected features into one great package.

The basics

The Matrix is a version of Lumos’ smart helmet updated with modern, urban helmet aesthetics and a new large LED display on the back that can be programmed to show a variety of different patterns, including simple images. It includes a built-in front light in addition to the rear light panel, as well as integrated turn signals that work with an included physical handlebar remote, or in concert with an Apple Watch app. It’s available in either a gloss white finish, or a matte black (as reviewed).


Lumos has designed the Matrix to work with a wide range of head sizes, thanks in part to two sets of included velcro pads for the inside of the helmet, but due mostly to the adjustable, ratcheting sizing harness on the inside. This can be easily dialled to tighten or loosen the helmet, helping it fit heads ranging between 22 and 24-inches in size.

The exterior of the Lumos is made of an ABS plastic that provides full weatherproofing, so that you can wear it in the rain without having to worry about the condition of the embedded electronics. There’s also a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) option that you can add on if you want an additional level of safety and security, though that’s not yet shipping and should be “available soon” according to the company.

A button integrated into the helmet’s strap lets you turn it on and off, and cycle between the built-in patters. You can pair the helmet via Bluetooth with your smartphone, too, and use the dedicated app to customize features including brightness, and even creating your own custom patterns for the rear display. In the box, you’ll also find a charging cable with a standard USB A connector on one end, and a proprietary magnetic charging surface on the other for powering up both your helmet and the handlebar remote.

Design and performance

The Lumos Matrix features a mostly continuous surface, with four vents on the top of the helmet for airflow, with an integrated brim built into the shell. As mentioned, there’s a front-facing light built-in to the helmet and protected by a transparent plastic covering, as well as a rear panel of 7×11 led lights, which create a dot matrix-style display that can display images or animations, including scrolling text. These LEDs are all full RGB, allowing the user to take full advantage for their own, or built-in display creations.

Lumos also makes the Kickstart, which features a more aerodynamic, thoroughly vented design. The look of the Matrix is more akin to helmets used in skateboarding, and for urban commuter bicyclists. Despite its more solid-looking design, in testing I found that it was actually very comfortable and cool, allowing plenty of airflow. The helmet sits a bit high on the head, but has ample hard foam padding and definitely feels like a solid piece of protective gear. Overall, the extreme quality of the construction and level of the finishes on the Matrix help it earn its higher price tag.

The Matrix is also comfortable, and the adjustable sizing straps ensure a snug fit that means the helmet won’t be shifting around at all while worn. The activation button located on the chin strap near your ear is easy to find and press, with a tactile response combined with an auditory signal so you’ll know it’s on. There’s also a built-in magnetic holder for the included two-button handlebar turn signal remote in the rear interior of the helmet itself, which is super useful when wearing the helmet out on errands.

In terms of the smart features, Lumos has created a very sensible set of defaults for the on-board lighting that make it easy to just turn on the helmet and get riding. The built-in patterns offer a range of options, but all do the job of increasing your visibility – and the bright lighting means that it adds to your ability to be seen by motorists, other cyclists and pedestrians even while you’re biking in bright daylight.

The customizability of the rear dot matrix display is also super handy. Even if you’re not interested in creating colorful designs to express your artistic self, you can use it for much more practical reasons – like displaying a simple scrolling message (ie. ‘biking with kids’) in order to alert anyone else around to reasons to pay heightened attention.

The included Lumos handlebar remote is paired out of the box, and is extremely reliable in terms of activating the turn signals on the helmet. Lumos’ smartwatch app was much more hit-or-miss for me in terms of recognizing my arm gestures reliably to automate the signalling, but that’s really a value-add feature anyway, and totally not necessary to get the full benefit of the helmet. The app’s integration with Apple Health for workout tracking while biking is also fantastic, and really adds to the overall experience of using the Matrix helmet.

Bottom line

The Lumos Matrix is a fantastic bike helmet, with an amazing integrated smart lighting system that’s both bright and highly customizable. There’s a reason this thing is carried at Apple Stores – it’s top quality in terms of construction, software integration and design. That said, its retail price starts at $249.95 – which is a lot when you consider that a good quality MIPS helmet without smart features will only set you back about $60 or so.

When you consider just how much technology is onboard the Matrix, however, the pricing becomes a lot easier to swallow. It’s true that dedicated lights also aren’t expensive, but the ones on the Matrix are very high quality and extremely visible in all lighting conditions. And the Matrix offers unique features you won’t find anywhere else, including active turn signals and automated brake lights, which really add to your ability to safely share the road with other cyclists and vehicles.

MIT engineers develop a totally flat fisheye lens that could make wide-angle cameras easier to produce

Engineers at MIT, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, have devised a way to build a camera lens that avoids the typical spherical curve of ultra-wide-angle glass, while still providing true optical fisheye distortion. The fisheye lens is relatively specialist, producing images that can cover as wide an area as 180 degrees or more, but they can be very costly to produce, and are typically heavy, large lenses that aren’t ideal for use on small cameras like those found on smartphones.

This is the first time that a flat lens has been able to product clear, 180-degree images that cover a true panoramic spread. The engineers were able to make it work by patterning a thin wafer of glass on one side with microscopic, three-dimensional structures that are positioned very precisely in order to scatter any inbound light in precisely the same way that a curved piece of glass would.

The version created by the researchers in this case is actually designed to work specifically with the infrared portion of the light spectrum, but they could also adapt the design to work with visible light, they say. Whether IR or visible light, there are a range of potential uses of this technology, since capturing a 180-degree panorama is useful not only in some types of photography, but also for practical applications like medical imaging and in computer vision applications where range is important to interpreting imaging data.

This design is just one example of what’s called a “Metalens” — lenses that make use of microscopic features to change their optical characteristics in ways that would traditionally have been accomplished through macro design changes — like building a lens with an outward curve, for instance, or stacking multiple pieces of glass with different curvatures to achieve a desired field of view.

What’s unusual here is that the ability to accomplish a clear, detailed and accurate 180-degree panoramic image with a perfectly flat metalens design came as a surprise even to the engineers who worked on the project. It’s definitely an advancement of the science that goes beyond what many assumed was the state of the art.

Boston Robotics delivers plan for logistics robots as early as next year

Boston Dynamics is just months away from announcing their approach to logistics, the first real vertical it aims to enter, after proving their ability to build robots at scale with the quadrupedal Spot. The company’s new CEO, Robert Playter, sees the company coming into its own after decades of experimentation.

Playter, interviewed on the virtual main stage of Disrupt 2020, only recently ascended from COO to that role after many years of working there, after longtime CEO and founder Marc Raibert stepped aside to focus on R&D. This is Playter’s first public speaking engagement since taking on the new responsibility, and it’s clear he has big plans for Boston Robotics.

The recent commercialization of Spot, the versatile quadrupedal robot that is a distant descendant of the famous Big Dog, showed Playter and the company that there is a huge demand for what they’re offering, even if they’re not completely sure where that demand is.

“We weren’t sure exactly what the target verticals would be,” he admitted, and seemingly neither did the customers, who have collectively bought about 260 of the $75,000 robots and are now actively building their own add-ons and industry-specific tools for the platform. And the price hasn’t been a deterrent, he said: “As an industrial tool this is actually quite affordable. But we’ve been very aggressive, spending a lot of money to try to build an affordable way to produce this, and we’re already working on ways to continue to reduce costs.”

boston dynamics spot

Image Credits: TechCrunch

The global pandemic has also helped create a sense of urgency around robots as an alternative to or augmentation of manual labor.

“People are realizing that having a physical proxy for themselves, to be able to be present remotely, might be more important than we imagined before,” Playter said. “We’ve always thought of robots as being able to go into dangerous places, but now danger has been redefined a little bit because of COVID. The pandemic is accelerating the sense of urgency and, I think, probably opening up the kinds of applications that we will explore with this technology.”

Among the COVID-specific applications, the company has fielded requests for collaboration on remote monitoring of patients, and automatic disinfection using Spot to carry aerosol spray through a facility. “I don’t know whether that’ll be a big market going forward, but we thought it was important to respond at the time,” he said. “Partly out of a sense of obligation to the community and society that we do the right thing here.”

The “Dr Spot” remote vitals measurement program at MIT.

One of the earliest applications to scale successfully was, of course, logistics, where companies like Amazon have embraced robotics as a way to increase productivity and lower labor costs. Boston Dynamics is poised to jump into the market with a very different robot — or rather robots — meant to help move boxes and other box-like items around in a very different way from the currently practical “autonomous pallet” method.

“We have big plans in logistics,” Playter said. “we’re going to have some exciting new logistics products coming out in the next two years. We have customers now doing proof of concept tests. We’ll announce something in 2021, exactly what we’re doing, and we’ll have product available in 2022.”

The company already offers Pick, a more traditional, stationary item-picking system, and they’re working on the next version of Handle, a birdlike mobile robot that can grab boxes and move them around while taking up comparatively little space — no more than a person or two standing up. This mobility allows it to unload things like shipping containers, trucks and other confined or less predictable spaces.

In a video shown during the interview (which you can watch above), Handle is also shown working in concert with an off-the-shelf pallet robot, and Playter emphasized the need for this kind of cooperation, and not just between robots from a single creator.

“We’ll be offering software that lets robots work together,” he said. “Now, we don’t have to create them all. But ultimately it will take teams of robots to do some of these tasks, and we anticipate being able to work with a heterogeneous fleet.”

This kinder, gentler, more industry-friendly Boston Dynamics is almost certainly a product of nudging from SoftBank, which acquired the company in 2018, but also the simple reality that you can’t run a world-leading robotics R&D outfit for nothing. But Playter was keen to note that the Japanese tech giant understands that “we’re only in the position we’re in now because of the previous work we’ve done in the last two decades, developing these advanced capabilities, so we have to keep doing that.”

One thing you won’t likely see doing real work any time soon is Atlas, the company’s astonishingly agile humanoid robot. It’s just not practical for anything just yet, but instead acts as a kind of prestige project, forcing the company to constantly adjust its sights upward.

atlas gymnastics boston dynamics

“It’s such a complex robot, and it can do so much it forces us to create tools we would not otherwise. And people love it — it’s aspirational, it attracts talent,” said Playter.

And he himself is no exception. Once a gymnast, he recalled “a nostalgic moment” watching Atlas vault around. “A lot of the people in the company, including Marc, have inspiration from the athletic performance of people and animals,” Playter said. “That DNA is deeply embedded in our company.”

Amazon makes Alexa Routines shareable

Amazon is making it easier for Alexa device owners to use Routines. The feature, which has been around for years, allows Alexa users to combine multiple tasks into a single voice command of their choosing. For example, you could make a routine that turns off your lights, plays relaxing music and locks your doors when you say, “Alexa, goodnight.” A morning routine could read you the headlines and weather forecast, as well as turn on your connected coffee maker. Now, Amazon will allow users to share their favorite routines with others.

Routines may still be considered something of a power-user feature. Because they take time to set up and aren’t necessarily well-highlighted in the Alexa mobile app where they’re under the “more” menu, it’s possible some Alexa device owners have never used them.

In the U.S., Alexa users will be able to visit the Routines section in the Alexa app, then click on the routine they want to share to grab a shareable URL. This URL can then be posted on social media, or sent in a text message, email or anywhere else.

When a user receives a shared routine, they simply click the URL while on the mobile device where they have the Alexa app installed. They’ll then follow the on-screen instructions in the app to complete the setup. Options that are shown in yellow text will indicate which fields can be customized — like specifying which smart light you want to turn off or on, for instance.

It would be useful if there was a larger online repository for Alexa routines where you could discover and activate those that have been shared by the wider community, similar to those directories created for sharing iOS Shortcuts. Also useful would be some sort of way to discover popular routines directly within the Alexa app. But these sorts of ideas are not included with the feature’s launch.

Instead, Amazon today introduced several new shareable routines created by Alexa Skill maker partners, like NPR, iHeartRadio, Headspace, Fitness Day, History Channel and others. These provide templates integrating their own voice app experiences for you to customize further.

JAWS architect Glen Gordon is joining Sight Tech Global, a virtual event Dec. 2-3

For people who are blind or visually impaired, JAWS is synonymous with freedom to operate Windows PCs with a remarkable degree of control and precision with output in speech and Braille. The keyboard-driven application makes it possible to navigate GUI-based interfaces of web sites and Windows programs. Anyone who has ever listened to someone proficient in JAWS (the acronym for “Job Access With Speech”) navigate a PC can’t help but marvel at the speed of the operator and the rapid fire machine-voice responses from JAWS itself.

For nearly 25 years, JAWS has dominated the field of screen readers, and is in use by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. It is inarguably one of the greatest achievements in modern assistive technology. We are delighted to announce that Glen Gordon, the architect of JAWS for over 25 years, is joining the agenda at Sight Tech Global, which is a virtual event (December 2-3) focused on how AI-related technologies will influence assistive technology and accessibility in the years ahead. Attendance is free and registration is open.

Blind since birth, Gordon’s interest in accessibility developed out of what he calls “a selfish desire to use Windows at a time when it was not at all clear that graphical user interfaces could be made accessible.” He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School, and he learned software development through “the school of hard knocks and lots of frustration trying to use inaccessible software.” He is an audio and broadcasting buff and host of FSCast, the podcast from Freedom Scientific.

The latest public beta release of JAWS contains a glimpse of the future for the storied software: It now works with certain user voice commands — “Voice Assist” — and provides more streamlined access to image descriptions, both thanks to AI technologies that the JAWS team at Freedom Scientific is using in JAWS as well as FUSION (which combines JAWS and ZoomText, a screen magnifier). Those updates address two of JAWS’ challenges — the complexity of the available keyboard command set that intimidates some users and “alt tags” on images that don’t always adequately describe the image.

“The upcoming versions of JAWS, ZoomText, and Fusion use natural language processing to allow many screen reader commands to be performed verbally,” says Gordon. “You probably wouldn’t want to speak every command, but for the less common ones Voice assist offers a way to minimize the key combinations that you need to learn.”

“Broadly speaking, we’re looking to make it easier for people to use a smaller command set to work efficiently. This fundamentally means making our products smarter, and being able to anticipate what a user wants and needs based on their prior actions. Getting there is an imprecise process and we’ll continue to rely on user feedback to help guide us towards what works best.”

The next generation of screen readers will take advantage of AI, among other technologies, and that will be a major topic at Sight Tech Global on December 2-3. Get your free pass now.

Sight Tech Global welcomes sponsors. Current sponsors include Verizon Media, Google, Waymo, Mojo Vision and Wells Fargo. The event is organized by volunteers and all proceeds from the event benefit The Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Silicon Valley.

Pictured above: JAWS Architect Glen Gordon in his home audio studio. 

iOS 14 is now available to download

Apple has just released the final version of iOS 14, the next major version of the operating system for the iPhone. It is a free download and it works with the iPhone 6s or later, both generations of iPhone SE and the most recent iPod touch model. If your device runs iOS 13, it supports iOS 14. The update may or may not be immediately available, but keep checking because people are now receiving the update.

The company is also releasing major updates for the iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV today. So you can expect some new features with iPadOS 14, tvOS 14 and watchOS 7 as well.

The release of those updates caught many developers by surprise. Apple announced yesterday that iOS 14 would be ready for prime time today. Usually, the company announces the release date a week or two in advance. This way, developers have enough time to fix the last remaining bugs and submit updates to the App Store.

If you update your iPhone today, don’t be surprised if you encounter a few bugs here and there from third-party apps. There are some major changes under the hood and nobody expected such a short turnaround.

The update is currently rolling out and is available both over-the-air in the Settings app, and by plugging your device into iTunes for a wired update. But first, back up your device. Make sure your iCloud backup is up to date by opening the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and tapping on your account information at the top and then on your device name. Additionally, you can also plug your iOS device into your computer to do a manual backup in iTunes (or do both, really).

Don’t forget to encrypt your backup in iTunes. It is much safer if somebody hacks your computer. And encrypted backups include saved passwords and health data. This way, you don’t have to reconnect to all your online accounts.

Once this is done, you should go to the Settings app, then ‘General’ and then ‘Software Update.’ Then you should see ‘Update Requested…’ It will then automatically start downloading once the download is available.

The biggest change of iOS 14 is the introduction of widgets on the home screen, a new App Library to browse all your apps and the ability to run App Clips — those are mini apps that feature a small part of an app and that you can run without installing anything.

There are also many refinements across the board, such as new features for Messages, with a big focus on groups with @-mentions and replies, a new Translate app that works on your device, cycling directions in Apple Maps in some cities and various improvements in Notes, Reminders, Weather, Home and more.

If you want to learn more about iOS 14, I looked at some of the features in the new version earlier this summer:

N95 masks could soon be rechargeable instead of disposable

The pandemic has led to N95 masks quickly becoming one of the world’s most sought-after resources as essential workers burned through billions of them. New research could lead to an N95 that you can recharge rather than throw away — or even one that continuously tops itself up for maximum effectiveness.

The proposed system, from researchers at Technion-IIT in Israel and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in India, is not one of decontamination, as you might expect. Instead, it focuses on another aspect of N95 masks that renders them less effective over time.

N95s use both mechanical filtering, in which particles are caught in a matrix of microscopic fibers, and electrostatic filtering, in which particles are attracted to surfaces that carry a static charge. It’s like the old trick where you rub a balloon on your head and it sticks — but at the scale of microns.

The combination of these two methods makes N95 masks very effective, but the electrostatic charge, like any charge, dissipates after a time as air and moisture pass over it. While decontamination via UV or high temperature may help keep the mechanical filter from becoming a tiny petri dish, they do nothing to restore the electrostatic charge that acted as a second barrier to entry.

In a paper published in the journal Phsyics of Fluids, Dov Levine and Shankar Ghosh (from Technion and Tata respectively) show that it’s possible to recharge an N95’s filter to the point where it was close to off-the-shelf levels of efficacy. All that’s needed is to place the filter between two plate electrodes and apply a strong electric field.

“We find that the total charge deposited on the masks depends strongly on the charging time… with the pristine value almost reattained after a 60 min charge at 1000 V,” write the researchers in their paper.

A self-charging N95 mask prototype

It’s unlikely that health care workers are going to be disassembling their masks after every shift, though. While a service and special mask type could (and if it’s effective, should) be established to do this, the team also explored the possibility of a mask with a built-in battery that recharges itself constantly:

A solution that can help replenish the lost charge on the masks in real time would be desirable. In this section, we provide a proof-of-concept method of keeping the masks charged, which comes as a logical extension of our recharging method.

We tested a technique by which the filter material maintains its charge and thus its filtration efficiency… Since the currents required are extremely small, a large battery is not required, and it is possible that a small compact and practical solution may be feasible.

The image above shows a prototype, which the team found to work quite well.

Of course it’s not quite ready for deployment; IEEE Spectrum asked Peter Tsai, the creator of the N95 mask, for his opinion on it. He suggested that the team’s method for testing filtration efficacy is “likely questionable” but didn’t take issue with the rest of the study.

Though it won’t be in hospitals tomorrow or next week, the team notes that “crucially, our method can be performed using readily available equipment and materials and so can be employed both in urban and rural settings.” So once it’s thoroughly tested it’s possible these rechargeable masks could start showing up everywhere. Let’s hope so.

Voice assistants don’t work for kids: The problem with speech recognition in the classroom

Before the pandemic, more than 40% of new internet users were children. Estimates now suggest that children’s screen time has surged by 60% or more with children 12 and under spending upward of five hours per day on screens (with all of the associated benefits and perils).

Although it’s easy to marvel at the technological prowess of digital natives, educators (and parents) are painfully aware that young “remote learners” often struggle to navigate the keyboards, menus and interfaces required to make good on the promise of education technology.

Against that backdrop, voice-enabled digital assistants hold out hope of a more frictionless interaction with technology. But while kids are fond of asking Alexa or Siri to beatbox, tell jokes or make animal sounds, parents and teachers know that these systems have trouble comprehending their youngest users once they deviate from predictable requests.

The challenge stems from the fact that the speech recognition software that powers popular voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google was never designed for use with children, whose voices, language and behavior are far more complex than that of adults.

It is not just that kid’s voices are squeakier, their vocal tracts are thinner and shorter, their vocal folds smaller and their larynx has not yet fully developed. This results in very different speech patterns than that of an older child or an adult.

From the graphic below it is easy to see that simply changing the pitch of adult voices used to train speech recognition fails to reproduce the complexity of information required to comprehend a child’s speech. Children’s language structures and patterns vary greatly. They make leaps in syntax, pronunciation and grammar that need to be taken into account by the natural language processing component of speech recognition systems. That complexity is compounded by interspeaker variability among children at a wide range of different developmental stages that need not be accounted for with adult speech.

vocal pitch changes with age

Changing the pitch of adult voices used to train speech recognition fails to reproduce the complexity of information required to comprehend a child’s speech. Image Credits: SoapBox Labs

A child’s speech behavior is not just more variable than adults, it is wildly erratic. Children over-enunciate words, elongate certain syllables, punctuate each word as they think aloud or skip some words entirely. Their speech patterns are not beholden to common cadences familiar to systems built for adult users. As adults, we have learned how to best interact with these devices, how to elicit the best response. We straighten ourselves up, we formulate the request in our heads, modify it based on learned behavior and we speak our requests out loud, inhale a deep breath … “Alexa … ” Kids simply blurt out their unthought out requests as if Siri or Alexa were human, and more often than not get an erroneous or canned response.

In an educational setting, these challenges are exacerbated by the fact that speech recognition must grapple with not just ambient noise and the unpredictability of the classroom, but changes in a child’s speech throughout the year, and the multiplicity of accents and dialects in a typical elementary school. Physical, language and behavioral differences between kids and adults also increase dramatically the younger the child. That means that young learners, who stand to benefit most from speech recognition, are the most difficult for developers to build for.

To account for and understand the highly varied quirks of children’s language requires speech recognition systems built to intentionally learn from the ways kids speak. Children’s speech cannot be treated simply as just another accent or dialect for speech recognition to accommodate; it’s fundamentally and practically different, and it changes as children grow and develop physically as well as in language skills.

Unlike most consumer contexts, accuracy has profound implications for children. A system that tells a kid they are wrong when they are right (false negative) damages their confidence; that tells them they are right when they are wrong (false positive) risks socioemotional (and psychometric) harm. In an entertainment setting, in apps, gaming, robotics and smart toys, these false negatives or positives lead to frustrating experiences. In schools, errors, misunderstanding or canned responses can have far more profound educational — and equity — implications.

Well-documented bias in speech recognition can, for example, have pernicious effects with children. It is not acceptable for a product to work with poorer accuracy — delivering false positives and negatives — for kids of a certain demographic or socioeconomic background. A growing body of research suggests that voice can be an extremely valuable interface for kids but we cannot allow or ignore the potential for it to magnify already endemic biases and inequities in our schools.

Speech recognition has the potential to be a powerful tool for kids at home and in the classroom. It can fill critical gaps in supporting children through the stages of literacy and language learning, helping kids better understand — and be understood by — the world around them. It can pave the way for a new era of  “invisible” observational measures that work reliably, even in a remote setting. But most of today’s speech recognition tools are ill-suited to this goal. The technologies found in Siri, Alexa and other voice assistants have a job to do — to understand adults who speak clearly and predictably — and, for the most part, they do that job well. If speech recognition is to work for kids, it has to be modeled for, and respond to, their unique voices, language and behaviors.

Peloton launches new Bike+ and Tread smart home gym equipment, both at $2,495

Peloton has launched two new products for its home smart gym lineup, the Bike+ ($2,495) and the Tread ($2,495). While both carry the same price tag, the new exercise bike joins as the premium version of Peloton’s original stationary cycle, which will remain on sale at $1,895, and the Tread is the new entry-level Peloton treadmill product, with the original becoming the Tread+ at $4,295. Both products were leaked by Bloomberg last week prior to their official unveiling on Tuesday.

The new Peloton Bike+ includes a 23.8″ rotating, HD resolution touchscreen display. It can move 180 degrees in either direction, which is meant to allow at-home exercisers to use the screen (and Peloton’s range of remote workout instruction and classes) while they’re off the bike. There’s also a built-in four-speaker sound system, a one-tap contactless integration with Apple Gymkit that allows you to sync workouts to your Apple Watch, and an Auto-Follow resistance system that scales the resistance of the bike depending on your own target metrics for heart rate and breathing.

As mentioned, the Bike+ retails for $2,495, which is around $600 more than the newly repriced entry-level Bike. It’s going on sale in the U.S., Canada and Germany starting on September 9, and will be available on a financing plan for instalment payments. Peloton will also make it available on a 30-day home trial basis, as it does on its existing equipment.

Likewise the new Tread will be able to be bought over a financing period with instalment payments, and comes with the trial period. It’s set to launch in early 2021 in both the U.S. and Canada, but will go on sale a bit earlier in the UK on December 26, 2020. Germany will also get the new treadmill, but that’ll be later in 2021, according o the company.

Image Credits: Peloton

As for what the Tread provides, it also has a 23.8″ HD touchscreen, but it doesn’t rotate – it does tilt up and down 50 degrees for floor-based workouts, however. The new Tread is “smaller than most couches” according to the company, at 68″ L x 33″ W x 62″ H. It looks like a much more traditional treadmill belt assembly than the one found on the more premium Tread+, but the company points out that it doesn’t have any kind of front shroud housing like you’d find on most treadmills, which does lighten the look of the whole thing.

Peloton also announced a new kind of class called ‘Bike Bootcamp’ that includes strength training to provide a more comprehensive total body workout, alongside cardio exercises. Sounds like the perfect complement to that rotating display on the Bike+, in case it wasn’t clear that the company wants to be the one-stop shop for a holistic home exercise program.

In case any recent Peloton purchasers were feeling buyer’s remorse about the new gear, Peloton says that’ it’s automatically refunding anyone who are still in their 30-day home trial period, or who are still waiting for the Bike to be delivered, in order to instantly provide them the $350 price drop that they’ve instituted for the original exercise bike. Anyone who falls in that group and wants to swap for the upgraded model will also be able to do that while paying the difference.

Image Credits: Peloton

Meanwhile, if you’re not a recent purchaser but still would like some new gear, Peloton is extending a trade-in offer to current Bike owners that will provide them a $700 rebate, along with a Yoga & Training accessory equipment set, and free pick-up of your old bike when they deliver your new one. Not a bad upgrade incentive.

Peloton said to be launching new, cheaper treadmill and higher-end stationary smart bike

Peloton is reportedly getting ready to add to its product lineup with two new products at either end of its pricing spectrum, according to Bloomberg. The workout tech company is planning both a cheaper, entry-level smart treadmill, and a higher-end version of its stationary exercise bike, with an announcement set to take place as early as sometime next week in time for its quarterly financial earnings.

The new products would come alongside a price drop for its existing exercise bike, to a price point under $1,900 according to the report. While the new ‘Bike+’ will retail for more than the current price of the existing model, the price drop will help Peloton stoke the high demand for its products resulting from the closure of gyms and social distancing measures instituted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peloton’s new ‘Tread’ treadmill will retail for under $3,000, according to Bloomberg’s sources, which is a considerable discount vs. the $4,295 asking price for the existing model. That one will remain on sale as a premium offering, and the new version will reportedly more closely resemble a traditional home treadmill in terms of materials and construction, allowing for the cheaper asking price.

The new, upscale Bike+ model will also reportedly feature a repositionable smart display, which will help it serve as the centerpiece of a more comprehensive home gym that includes strength training and other kinds of guided workouts. Peloton’s hardware products are what helped distinguish it in the exercise market, but it has built another strong business on subscription plans and app-guided workouts, which are available with or without its home gym equipment.

The new treadmill will likely go to market before the upgraded smart bike, in terms of availability, according to the report. Peloton’s main blocker for customer base expansion is probably its relatively high point of entry, in terms of its in-house hardware, so that makes a lot of sense if the company is looking to capitalize on general consumer appetite for at-home fitness solutions during the COVID-19 crisis.