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App for cyclists automatically complains about potholes

Work & Lifestyle

Auto-Complain turns cyclists' phones into motion trackers and automatically alerts the road repair department when they encounter a pothole.

Potholes are a major inconvenience for cyclists and often lead to serious accidents. We have already seen devices that scan the road ahead and alerts cyclists to help them conquer irregular road surfaces. Now, offers an even better solution: it enables users to automatically alert their road repair department, any time they encounter a pothole.

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Created by German interaction designer Florian Born, Auto-Complain is a smartphone app that tracks the motions of the bike and logs any potholes encountered, automatically sending the data to the online archiving platform. Users first launch the app and attach their phone to their bike. Then, whenever the bike hits a pothole, the app registers the location and intensity of the bump and send the information to the online archive. When the cyclist arrives at the destination they can access their complaint at the Auto-Complain website, download a PDF file and send it to the authorities, eliminating the usual paperwork. An additional feature is a spray device, which connects to the bike and leaves a mark, flagging up the hazard to other cyclists and improving conditions in the meantime.

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Auto-Complain enables citizens to affect positive change to their local area without the bureaucracy usually associated with making complaints. Could other grievances with the urban landscape be automated in this way?

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