Posts with «bike lights» label

Synchronized bike lighting inspired by nature

Having a light on your bike at night is important for safety, but what if those headlights could talk to others sharing the road with you? Well now it can, using the [Bike] Swarm by Alex Berke, Thomas Sanchez, and Kent Larson from the MIT Media Lab.

Their device—or collection of devices—controls a bicycle’s lighting via an Arduino and LED driver, and features an nRF24L01 wireless module to communicate with others in the vicinity. When another rider is encountered, the bikes sync their lights up automatically. 

The team has already designed and fabricated prototypes, then strapped them onto local city bike share program bikes for testing. 

It’s an interesting effect when two bikes pass, but as shown in the video below, things get much more fascinating when a handful of bikes can coordinate both their direction and light pattern.

As bikes navigate city streets after dark, they are often equipped with lights. The lights make the bikes visible to cars or other bikers, and the hazards of traffic less dangerous.

Imagine that as solitary bikes come together, their lights begin to pulsate at the same cadence. The bikers may not know each other, or may only be passing each other briefly, but for the moments they are together, their lights synchronize. The effect is a visually united presence, as groups of bikes illuminate themselves with a gently pulsing, collective light source.

Smart bicycle saddle developed with Arduino

Riding a bicycle can be a great way to get around, and/or even to get some needed exercise. When you mix in automobile or foot traffic, though, things get a bit more complicated. This could be blamed, in part, on the fact that bikes don’t have the same running lights, turn or brake signals as motorized vehicles. 

To address this problem, BLINK!’s patented Integrated Lighting System (iLS) has been designed to provide a visible communication solution that’s easily understandable by other road users. 

This custom saddle—which was prototyped using an ATmega328P-based Arduino— features lighting for 270º visibility, and brightens automatically for braking when deceleration is detected. In addition, iLS includes a pair of remotely activated turn signals. This allows the rider to indicate direction changes without removing his or her hand from the handlebars to awkwardly point. 

BLINK! has been embedded into a wide range of saddles and installation should be fairly straightforward. Not only will it certainly help enhance road safety, iLS will look fantastic while doing so.