Samsung Smart Bike: What was it about?
Here is a paradox. It can be argued that the talent pool is larger than ever, with thousands upon thousands willing and eager to express their potential and write their own future. Then we have the keepers of 10 great crafting traditions quickly aging, and the artisans who practice these traditions seeing the workforce shrinking, with few to inherit the legacy of these art forms.
Especially for countries like Italy, known for its fine craftsmanship yet where there is high youth unemployment rate (nearly 50%), it is more than just a paradox.
The fact is there is plenty of young talent willing to use their love and knowledge of technology to maintain the spirit of craftsmanship. What is missing here is the connection between maestros and passionate talent with analog and digital. This is the story of a decidedly unmissed connection in Italy.
Student and the Maestro
Alice Biotti, a 31-year-old from Novara, was, like anyone her age, afraid of what her future would bring. Even though she was working, things still looked very uncertain. However, she was certain of her passion for designing and assembling her own bike and her dream to open her own bike shop. But this dream seemed to have little chance of being anything more than a DIY project.
Giovanni Pellizzoli has made over 4,000 bike frames since he was 12 years old. In 1995, he succeeded in building the world’s first aluminum bike frame. Undoubtedly, he is a maestro. Giovanni was also a part of the ‘Samsung Maestros Academy’ project, which launched in 2014 as collaboration between Samsung and Leo Burnett, with the goals of connecting two generations and supporting the future of Italian craftsmanship.
Through this project, Alice and Giovanni met each other and were able to share their knowledge and passion for bikes.
“I had a lot of respect for Alice after hearing she wanted to build a bike with her own hands,” said Pellizzoli
“I learned about the Maestro Academy, and met maestro Giovanni Pellizzoli,” recounted Biotti
Not only did they show that the generation gap can be filled with mutual admiration, they also showed that there is a great practicality to the combination of ‘maestro+passionate talent’
Digital meets Analog
In a sense, when these two met to work on designing and assembling a bike, one of the greatest heritages of mankind, the goal of ‘Samsung Maestros Academy’ to ‘prosper Italian craftsmanship’ was easily achieved. The hard part was to make sure that the project was practical; provide a solution to a current environmental issue.
As eco-friendly as bikes are, according to the World Health Organization, cyclists accounted for five per cent of all road traffic deaths in the world in 2013. In addition, in Italy, bikes were, in fact, one of the most dangerous forms of transportation, having the highest death rate for biking accidents in all Europe.
A safer bike that can protect the rider was indispensable.
This was when Samsung joined Alice and Giovanni to make a more practical bike, to merge digital with analog: a Smart Bike.
The priority for Smart Bike was to address the issue of safety. The two devised a way to apply ‘smart’ features to the bike’s frame by connecting the bike with Samsung Galaxy smartphones, allowing them to project a bike lane on the group via lasers, utilize a rear-view camera and integrate GPS functionality. A bike that protects its rider via their smartphone was created.
Features of the Smart Bike
‘Digital’ meets ‘analog,’ or ‘the crossover of the generations:’ these descriptions come with the connotation of being innovative, new or revolutionary, but in truth the melding of old traditions with new innovations will succeed only if it yields effective results and solves pressing issues around the world Alice, Giovanni and the Samsung Maestro Project showed that it could do just that with the Smart Bike.
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