Highlights from Interbike 2014

Headlight

The system prototype, mounted on the hood of a truck

A couple of years ago we heard about an experimental headlight system being developed at Carnegie Mellon University, that allows drivers to see through rain and snow more easily. It does so by selectively not illuminating individual raindrops and snowflakes. Now, thanks to recent road tests on the streets of Pittsburgh, its creators have confirmed that it can also be used to keep oncoming drivers from being blinded by your high beams.  Read More

The all-new Audi R8 LMX is one of the first car designs in the world to use laser high bea...

Audi has revealed the all-new R8 LMX, the most powerful road-going variant of its super sports car. More interesting than its extra 20 ponies is the set of laser eyes staring at the road ahead. The R8 LMX edges out the BMW i8 to the title of world's first production car equipped with standard laser lighting.  Read More

The CycleNav is paired with the user's safely-stowed smartphone

Smartphone-based navigation systems can certainly help cyclists find their way around the city, but not everyone wants to risk attaching their precious phone to their rattly handlebars, nor do they like having to repeatedly glance down to read the map on its screen. That's why Schwinn has just announced its CycleNav device. It guides cyclists using verbal cues and simple directional arrows.  Read More

Audi is introducing dynamic turn signals on its new A8

An obvious improvement on the retractable semaphore devices used on some cars in the first half of last century, turn signals have remained largely unchanged since being patented in 1938 and subsequently adopted by automotive manufacturers. But Audi is claiming to have improved the humble turn signal by using a sequence of lights to indicate the intended turn direction.  Read More

The BMW K1600GTL (Photo: Loz Blain)

The BMW K1600GTL is a luxury mega-tourer. It falls into that category of bikes that has next to zero relevance to me at this point in my riding life cycle, as I've got no current plans to circumnavigate Australia or have a crack at the Saddlesore 1000. And yet I've actually been hanging out to get my hands on one of these things, because it features what I'd call the single coolest innovation I've seen on a motorcycle since I first put aside my prejudices and felt just how good the Piaggio MP3 tilting 3-wheeler is to ride. It's the second coolest thing I've thrown a leg over this week.  Read More

A lab test illustrating how the new system can make raindrops 'disappear'

Driving at night in falling rain or snow can be treacherous, but not just because the asphalt is slippery – visibility is also greatly reduced, as the driver’s view of the road ahead is obscured by brightly headlight-lit raindrops or snowflakes. In the future, however, that may not be so much of a problem. A team led by Carnegie Mellon University’s Prof. Srinivasa Narasimhan has developed an experimental headlight system that renders most foreground precipitation virtually invisible, while still adequately illuminating the road beyond.  Read More

Bicycle accessory designer and manufacturer Copenhagen Parts has just announced a new rang...

Bicycle accessory designer and manufacturer Copenhagen Parts has just announced a new range of magnetic bike lights. Called "Magnetic Bike Lights," the battery-powered LED lights may not have the novel power source of the Magnic Light we looked at in February, but they do have one nifty trick at their disposal: they automatically turn on and off when fitted and removed from a steel bicycle frame.  Read More

LED by LITE is a bicycle illumination system that cyclists control from a wireless handleb...

The arrival of high-intensity LEDs has certainly made a huge difference to the brightness of bicycle headlights. Some people, however, are now looking at using the bulbs not just as a means of lighting the cyclist’s way, but of making their bicycles more visible to motorists. A couple of examples include the Aura and Revolights systems, both of which incorporate LEDs into a bike’s wheel rims. Another system, that looks like it might be considerably less involved yet still effective, is called LED by LITE.  Read More

BMW's i8 concept will be the first vehicle to sport laser headlights

In the past decade, LEDs have become increasingly popular for use on cars, mainly for use as turn signals, brake and park lights, and daytime running lamps, but more recently, also for use in headlights. Now BMW has revealed it is taking the next step in the development of vehicle headlight technology by working on the introduction of laser light headlights. The company says that laser light not only offers energy - and therefore fuel - savings, but could also enable entirely new design possibilities and light functions on vehicles to improve safety. It aims to have the technology ready for series production "within a few years."  Read More

Two groups of entrepreneurs are currently developing separate products (one of which is th...

Riding a bicycle on busy streets full of motorized vehicles can be risky enough in the daytime, but it potentially becomes even more dangerous at night, when motorists are less likely to see cyclists. Much of that risk can be minimized by using a bright headlight and strobing taillight, although those don't do much to increase a cyclist's visibility when seen from the side - and even if they did, there's no such thing as being too bright. Two separate projects, however, are aimed at developing systems that would allow a bicycle's wheel rims to act as running lights that would be hard not to notice.  Read More

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