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.


Revolights present a longer, safer bicycle taillight

The Premise. As the eco-movement continues to grow, cyclists become more an more numerous, opting to travel in an environmentally-friendly way instead of using their cars all the time. The only problem is that the safety-movement hasn’t really stepped up to this new influx of cyclists. As a result, drivers and cyclists in the U.S. are still not very adept at sharing the road, which can result in accidents.

The Product. Revolights offers up one more way to improve the safety of cyclists and drivers alike. Instead of dinky blinky lights that most cyclists use, Revolights are long lights that act as the front and back fender to a bike. This current campaign is only for the taillight. If the bike already has fenders, there is a special mount that can be used to attach the arc light to the fender. By detecting the rotating speed of the wheel, an additional brake light is activated when the cyclist’s speed slows suddenly. The Revolights arc light comes with different modes, blinking or not, with a red taillight. The arc light runs on a battery that has eight hours of life and charges in a USB port.

The Pitch. This campaign marks a third go at Kickstarter for Revolights, the Bay Area creators of which show off its product in a video featuring different cyclists riding around at night. It’s especially interesting to see how the brake light comes in when necessary. In addition, the video shows newer features that will be offered soon, including turn signals. Revolights hopes to raise $100,000 in its 54-day campaign.

The Perks. Backers can enjoy the Revolights Arc taillight for $69 at the early-bird price. Regularly priced, the taillight will go for $79 and the light which includes its own fender goes for $109. Reward tiers go up to $629 with an estimated delivery date of October 2014. Revolights talks about having stretch goals in the future for turn signals, but have not actually set them yet.

The Potential. Bike taillights as they exist now are easily mistaken for other things. Most bike headlights and taillights are mismatched, offering a huge headlight with an inadequately sized taillight. This large arced light is much safer because of its size and position partially outlining the wheel, signaling to drivers that they are approaching a bike. The closest product to Revolights right now is the Serfas Thunderbolt USB Taillight, simply because it charges with a USB, but compared to the arc light, the Thunderbolt looks much too small. All in all, while the price of Revolights is rather high, the safety that it offers is worth ponying up for.

Cycling Video

Blinking Fly6 bikecam lets tailing motorists know they’re being watched

The Premise. For those who bike to commute or just for fun, laws and convenience tie them to the same streets that cars speed down. Every intersection is an accident waiting to happen, every passing car might not notice the cyclist doing his best to move with traffic beside him. As a result, cyclists are constantly in fear of something much faster and heavier than they forcing them off the road.

The Product. The Fly6 is a combination LED taillight/HD camera that clips right to the seat post and can record the traffic behind for up to 5 hours. The philosophy behind this design is that it will alert motorists to cyclists, and at the same time let them know they are being recorded should they try to do anything dangerous or reckless. Every Fly6 comes with a USB-rechargeable lithium ion battery and an 8GB microSD card.

The Pitch. Introducing the Fly6 are Australian inventors Andrew Hagen and Kingsley Fiegert. Kingsley explains that the inspiration for the device came about when a car full of inconsiderate young people pulled up beside him in a motorcycle and shot him point blank with a slingshot, nearly causing him serious injury. Shocked by the incident, he forgot to take down the license plate number. A number of demonstrations are shown, illustrating the taillight strobe and the camera recording functions, as well as how the current model is waterproof. At the end, the two cleverly reveal that the entire video was shot using a Fly6, illustrating its quality. Andrew and Kingsley are asking for $95,000 AUD to finalize the design, streamline the software, patent the device, and more.

The Perks. $119 AUD ($15 AUD to ship outside of Australia) is all it takes to get a Fly6, delivered in May 2014. A special white model is available for slightly more. At the highest, $399 AUD tier,  backers will be shipped a prototype in March with free shipping, to test out and provide feedback before the finished product launches, which they will also receive.

The Potential. The Fly6 could be to cyclists what the insurance dashboard camera is for Russian motorists. Not only does it provide a real safety need, but it could lead to a new generation of viral videos as one of the promo videos hints.