Connected Objects Cycling

Bikers make sure those trailing them get the message with 8rlicht

For years, cyclists have sought out ways to make themselves safer on the road because the lights most bikes come equipped with just don’t cut it. They’re extremely small and only work when light is shone on them, limiting their overall usability and putting riders in undue danger when riding at night.

8Rlicht is a smart taillight with 140 LEDs on a rather large display that ensures your ride will never be safer. The product reacts to sudden braking, lighting up to alert drivers behind you — a powerful feature. In addition, show off customizable patterns and text on that display using the companion smartphone apps compatible on iOS or Android. In addition, the unit’s onboard Bluetooth connectivity and many sensors allows it some other tricks as well.

With Bluetooth, OTA updates are possible so that you can update software capable of tracking calories or setting up competitions between you and friends, as well as alerting you when the bike is being stolen. And when you’re wandering back to your bike and have no clue where it is, 8Rlicht lights up to your presence provided you also have your smartphone with you. The asking price of €49 is stellar but the funding goal of €200,000will be a stretch for this connected taillight

The product is no slouch on features but certainly has room for more, despite the folks behind the product not saying much about that. And with this dangling off the back of your bike, it makes a prime target for thieves.


Skully’s AR-1 protects your noggin while leading you home

The Premise. Motorcycle helmets are necessary for the safety of riders all over the world, but most don’t add much to the experience itself. Of utmost importance is keeping a rider’s eyes on the road, but not much has been done to satisfactorily address this issue outside of rear view cameras. Still, some feature lightweights carbon fiber construction where others feature Bluetooth integration, but there isn’t one complete package that tries to change the act of riding a motorcycle itself.

The Product. Skully’s AR-1 is the company’s inaugural attempt at creating the future of motorcycle helmets. Sporting ultra-modern, slim stylings, the aerodynamic polycarbonate shell houses some serious technology built atop the Android platform. This allows for a transparent heads-up display, a wide-angle rearview camera, and both online/offline turn-by-turn GPS navigation, along with future application support thanks to an open SDK. The helmet also includes a variety of connectivity options, including Bluetooth and smartphone-enabled Internet connection, both allowing for over-the-air updates.

Even with so much technology, safety is Skully’s number one aim. The heads-up display has been created so that it’s always in focus, meaning a rider won’t have to take their eyes off the road. Most importantly, the entire product is DOT/ECE certified, meaning it passes the Department of Transportation design requirements for helmets.

The Pitch. Skully’s entire campaign is one of the better ones you’ll come across, featuring top-notch production in each one of the videos. The first goes over what the Skully offers while the second video impresses with endorsements from prominent professional motorcycle riders and Amazon CTO Werner Vogel, amongst others. The campaign leaves you with no doubt as the FAQ answers all of the doubts that you may still have by its end.

The Perks. The introductory price for the Skully AR-1 is $1,399. If that’s too much to swallow, interested backers can reserve one for $499 while paying $949 later. Whatever you do, you can expect the helmet in July 2015 the latest.

The Potential. Each of Skully AR-1’s features have been offered before in helmets, like Reevu’s use of a 180° rear-view camera or BiLT’s super connected offerings featuring smartphone connection and GPS navigation, so in and of themselves they aren’t revolutionary. What Skully succeeds in doing is packaging it all up effectively while still surprising. As with any boundary-pushing product with lots of hype behind it, only time will tell if every component will indeed will work as advertised, especially that HUD they’re touting as so safe.