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Magnic Light iC brings new features to touchless dynamo bike light

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December 30, 2013

The Magnic Light iC tail light, in place on a bike

The Magnic Light iC tail light, in place on a bike

Image Gallery (3 images)

German inventor Dirk Strothmann certainly caught some peoples' attention last year, when he released his Magnic Light touchless dynamo bike light. Instead of slowing the bicycle down by pressing on its tire, engaging magnets in its wheels, or adding friction in its hub, it's able to generate electricity simply by being close to a spinning metallic rim. Now he's about to launch the Magnic Light iC, which will offer some interesting new features.

First of all, how does the original model work? Well, as we explained in our prior article, the Magnic Light has magnets in the dynamo (as opposed to the wheel), and utilizes eddy currents. Basically speaking, these are electrical currents that are induced in a conductor, when that conductor is exposed to a changing magnetic field.

"Relative movements of magnets and neighbored conductive material induce eddy currents in the conductive material – in our case the metallic rim," said Strothmann. "These eddy currents have their own magnetic fields which are absorbed by the Magnic Light generator kernel and by this way produce electric energy."

The result was a device that was compact and wireless, like a battery-powered light, but that didn't require batteries. Its output wavered a little with the spinning speed of the wheel, however, plus it went out whenever the wheel stopped. The Magnic Light iC addresses these limitations.

Using a new onboard microprocessor, it's reportedly able to adapt to the current speed, maintaining peak efficiency at speeds ranging from 3 to 30 km/h (2 to 19 mph). When the cyclist stops, a built-in capacitor keeps the light illuminated. The iC is also said to be optimized for the LEDs used, allowing for more light per unit of power – about 160 lumens per watt.

Additionally, the lens has been redesigned in order not to blind oncoming motorists.

Strothmann is now raising production funds for the new light, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$69 will get you a head- or tail light, while $179 will get you two front and one rear. The funding goal was met in just a few days, so commercial production does look likely.

More information is available in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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8 Comments

of course there is a resistance to motion because of the flux. still a cool idea if it generates enough electricity this way.

Robert Hirsch
30th December, 2013 @ 03:36 pm PST

Cool device. However, I have a very bright flashing tail light that I bought for 10$ years ago, and a set of batteries last for a year or longer. And I use it when I go jogging in the evening (no spinning metal there). So ....

ugosugo
30th December, 2013 @ 04:34 pm PST

If all new bikes had these built in - and automatically switched on - bikes would be a lot safer, a lot cheaper (due to economies of scale) and the devices themselves unlikely to be stolen. (If all bikes had them, who would be the target buyer for the thief to sell them to?)

I would like to see them pulse whenever lit, especially the rear ones, - perhaps with a rate linked to speed - rather than just when stationary, but I assume that there are reasons why that has not been done. (I speak as a car driver, not a cyclist.

Mel Tisdale
31st December, 2013 @ 03:27 am PST

I would not want to be reliant on a capacitor alone. I used to cycle in the dark frequently in the 1980's, and the choice in the UK was either a tyre-driven dynamo which caused friction, were liable to blow bulbs on fast downhill runs, and went out when stationary; or the unreliable battery powered lights of the time, prone to being stolen, heavy and bulky, liable to run out of juice, and they suffered from issues relating to the use of different metals for the switching parts which caused galvanic corrosion (and thus loss of light- especially at the back where you wouldn't necessarily be aware of the light being out).

Modern LED lamps have really made products like this history. And the capacitor is only going to provide very short-term illumination (maybe as short as a few seconds?) I really can't see the advantage of this product unless combined with proper battery backup.

bergamot69
31st December, 2013 @ 12:54 pm PST

I have been using a set of Reelight SL100, a front (white) and rear (red) flashing be-seen bicycle lights, invented by Troels Pedersen of Denmark, since 2009. I works on the same principle as Magnic Light (dynamo or magnetic induction). Five years on, not one single problem faced.

Essarr
31st December, 2013 @ 07:51 pm PST

A 25 farad 2.7V capacitor costs a bit over $2 in quantity and holds enough usable energy to run the light at full power for over a minute, or much longer in pulsed or low-power mode. I don't know if they are using a capacitor that big, but it wouldn't break the bank.

EH
1st January, 2014 @ 11:29 am PST

The USP of this product is the implication that generating the electricity comes at no cost in friction, or drag, or some other energy loss.

That would clearly violate the law of conservation of energy.

As Robert Hirsch has already said, there will still be drag because of the electromagnetic flux; the law still applies (of course).

Therefore this is not a product with integrity, it's just some guy lying by omission.

dalroth5
7th January, 2014 @ 01:38 pm PST

E H where do I get supercaps for that price?

Jochen Demnitz
10th January, 2014 @ 10:32 pm PST
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