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China's Google will launch a smart bike later this year

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What's the next hot connected gadget category? Forget watches, we're thinking bikes, judging by the overwhelming interest in crazy, innovative new models like Teague's 'Denny' e-bike. Chinese search giant Baidu is all over that with the Dubike, a non-motorized bicycle equipped with regenerative electric tech and laden with smart fitness technology. It sports heart rate, pedal rate, peddle pressure and other sensors which which connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone app. With that info, it'll monitor your health stats, provide mapping directions, track your bike's position and recommend cycling routes or fitness programs via social networks -- to name just a few possible functions.

Gallery: Baidu Dubike smart e-bike | 9 Photos

The high-tech-looking bike (designed by Baidu and Tsinghua University's design department) will also have a "self-generation hub that converts kinetic into electrical energy." That means it'll store electrical power to run all its sensors and charge your phone or other device. In case you had your hopes up, it doesn't appear to provide any e-bike motorized option like Teague's "Denny" model.

Baidu's slightly sinister-sounding research arm, the Institute of Deep Learning (IDL), launched a smart bike OS last month, with the intent to build crowdsourced riding maps, fitness programs and other intelligent features. It plans to use that tech for Dubike and share it with other manufacturers. There's no other info about the bike like pricing, weight or other specs, but the company intends to launch it by the end of the year. We doubt it'll arrive in Europe or the US, but hopefully Baidu will inspire its western counterparts to get pedaling with their own smart bike programs.

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