Bike light knows when you're riding, when you're braking, and how dark it is outside
By Ben Coxworth
June 15, 2013
While it’s important for cyclists to run a set of lights when they’re riding after dark, using lights in the daytime also helps make them more visible to drivers. That said, the chances are pretty high that daytime cyclists could forget and leave their lights on when they finish their ride ... plus, they’d go through batteries a lot quicker. Estonian inventor Indrek Rebane has already got those things covered, with his Velodroom “smart” tail light.
The water-resistant Velodroom snaps onto the seat post, and features a built-in accelerometer that allows it to detect when the bike is in motion. This in turn allows the light to automatically illuminate whenever a ride starts, and to subsequently turn itself off once no movement has been detected for at least one minute – that means users never have to think about turning it on or off.
Additionally, it contains a light sensor. Using that sensor, it adjusts the output of its 3-watt Cree LED depending on the ambient light levels. This helps save battery life, reserving the brightest output for the brightest conditions, so it can still be seen in the sunlight. At its maximum brightness, the light can reportedly be seen from a distance of 300 meters (984 ft) from the back and sides.
Another useful function made possible by the accelerometer is the Velodroom’s brake light feature. Whenever it detects sudden deceleration, it temporarily gets brighter to alert drivers that the cyclist is coming to a stop – it’s similar to the technology used in the Vololights system, designed for motorcycles.
Power is provided by an integrated rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, that’s charged via a USB cable. One charge is good for 100 hours of continuous use, or an estimated three months of average use.
Rebane and his team are now raising production funds for the Velodroom, on Kickstarter. A pledge of £35 (US$54) will get you one, when and if they’re ready to go. More information on the light is available in the pitch video below.
Interested readers might additionally want to check out the Blink/Steady light, which also uses an accelerometer and light sensor to automatically turn itself on and off. It doesn’t adjust its output level, however, nor does it offer the brake light feature.