There are a ton of great hiking/biking computers on the market, but they can be costly and have limited features and battery life. Some prefer just to use their smartphones, which is perfectly fine within city limits, but inadequate in remote areas. Another option is to go the DIY route, which is what Saurabh Gandhi did when he designed his HikeBuddy development board- a low-power solution with integrated GPS and wireless options.
According to Gandhi, “This board features a slew of sensors that can be used to make an awesome GPS tracker, weather monitor, or biking computer. It is intended for makers who would like to play around with a reliable piece of hardware. The design uses an ultra-low-power, reflective memory LCD display, so you can see it clearly outdoors in bright light, and not kill the battery.”
Under the hood, the HikeBuddy is outfitted with an ESP32 microcontroller, a GPS module with integrated antenna, along with temperature, pressure, and humidity sensors, as well as an accelerometer and magnetometer. It also sports BLE for adding more sensors, Wi-Fi, micro SD card slot, and 5-way switch. The HikeBuddy is also LiPo powered, equipped with a vibrator and RGB LED for notifications, and is expandable utilizing I2C and UART connections.
The HikeBuddy displays a wealth of information, including position, route, weather, and altitude. (📷: Saurabh Gandhi)
Gandhi states the hardware is open source, and software driver libraries are readily available on GitHub. Those that would like to recreate his HikingBuddy, Gandhi has provided a detailed walkthrough on his Hackaday page, and he is expected to launch a Crowd Supply campaign in the coming weeks for those who would prefer to buy the development board.