Cyclists wanting to notify other road users of stopping or turning intentions can use their arms, but it's not always convenient or safe to do so. Bike-based blinking technology like the Spooklight system is a good way to go, but having to detach and carry your lights between rides to keep them out of the hands of opportunist thieves can be a bit of a pain. A sleeker idea would be to integrate a wirelessly-controlled lighting system into your backpack? That's precisely what SEIL from Myung Su Lee does. Bright directional arrows, stopping signals or custom animated text messages shine through the fabric at the back of the bag at the press of a button on a bar-mounted wireless controller.
Currently a pre-production prototype, the Safe Enjoy Interact Light (or SEIL for short) is a water-resistant LED light grid mounted on a flexible PCB. Two grid sizes have been developed: a 15 x 9 LED unit that's 115 x 111 x 18 mm (4.5 x 4.4 x 0.7 in) in size and weighs 140 g (5 oz), and a 23 x 9 grid with dimensions of 170 x 109 x 18 mm (6.7 x 4.3 x 0.7 in), and weighing 160 g (5.6 oz). The 135 light unit sports a 2700 mAh Li-ion battery that's reported good for 12 hours between charges, while the 207 LED version has a 3500 mAh Li-ion battery which can last for 16 hours before needing a top up.
A lever at the front of a handlebar-mounted wireless controller is used to activate a left or right direction arrow shape via Bluetooth. Its 430 mAh battery should last 8 hours between charges. Buttons on the top are pressed for a stop or emergency symbol, or simple custom messages or alerts. An Android smartphone app can be used to design the custom signals, images or short text messages, which can also be animated. SEIL's designer told Gizmag that development work on an iOS app has now been completed, and the Apple certification process is about to begin.
The SEIL unit is slotted into a bag, hipsack or pouch so that the LEDs face a 1 mm-thick semi-transparent polycarbonate panel that lets the light shine out through the synthetic textile, while also offering some protection to the signaling unit. The SEIL bag has an empty weight of 830 g (29 oz), and includes five inner pockets with a total capacity of 25 liters (including a head pocket big enough to hold a wallet and some small items like pens, and a main section large enough to hold a 13-inch notebook).
The SEIL signaling system was originally created in 2010, and subsequantly won a Red Dot design award. Myung Su Lee has since been refining and tweaking the prototype to ready it for commercial release. To get the product to market, the developer has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.
Pledge levels start at US$149 for a SEIL Pouch, though it'll cost you at least $299 for a bag, controller and app bundle. The campaign ends of November 1, and if all goes as planned, the first Special Edition SEIL bags will be shipped to backers by December of this year, with other units penciled in for March 2014 delivery.
The SEIL pitch video is below.