About this project
The BLAZE Bike Light is a completely new innovation for urban cyclists. It’s a damn good bike light, but it also tackles one of the biggest causes of cycling fatalities - being caught in the blind spot and vehicles turning across an unseen bike.
Our website - www.Blaze.cc
Keep up to date on Twitter - @BLAZEfeed
(Here in the UK) 79% of cyclists are hit when they’re travelling straight ahead and a vehicle maneuvers into them, largely due to their small footprint and position on the road. BLAZE tackles this.
BLAZE is a front light with super-bright LEDs, but it also projects the symbol of a bike down onto the road ahead of the cyclist. It’s adjustable, but ideally about 5m in front. It alerts road users ahead of the cyclist of their presence, helping to prevent them turning across their path (especially the big ones like buses and trucks!). Making the cyclist more visible and increasing their footprint on the road.
Another common accident sees drivers pulling out of a side junction into the path of a cyclist, the bike can be right up close but overlooked due to its position; being tucked in closer to the curb. BLAZE's flashing symbol ahead of the bike warns drivers (in time) that there's a cyclist approaching, and stops them pulling out. The same applies to pedestrians, people often don't hear a cyclist coming and step out in front of the bike, warn them you're coming through!
- Power: Current prototypes are using 1500mAh rechargeable lithium cells (though exploring the use of larger cells) and with the LED light plus the laser module on constant, the current prototypes last up to 6 hours. On flashing mode, they will last up to 12 hours. This means if you're using your light to commute to work for an hour everyday, you’ll probably need to charge it once a fortnight.
- Dimensions and Weight: Our current prototype is a piddly 110 mm long! Super compact! Its aluminium casing and compact internals give it the reassuring weight of quality, yet still being less than 200g.
- Materials: The casing is machined aluminum with a beautiful finish and acid-etched, silver nickel control panels. The prototypes in the video are milled by hand, so the real thing will look even sexier done by machine! Damn right we believe a bike light can be sexy. Especially ours.
- Waterproofing: Yep! All the correct seals are in place to prevent your precious internals being fried in the season’s first downpour... Like water off a duck's back!
- Brightness: Blimmin’ bright! Currently settling on which LED configuration to use, but the prototypes in the video are using LEDs >90lm/W efficacy, giving >80 lumen.
- Modes: Both the white light and the green laser can be activated independently and both have the option to be flashing. When they are both on flashing mode, it is programmed for them to flash alternately, maximising visibility. The LEDs also have a ‘dim’ mode and it can be used as a torch off the bike.
- Safety: BLAZE contains a neat internal magnetic sensor, so it knows when it’s in its bracket. When you take it off the bike you can use the light on ‘dim’ mode as a torch, but not the laser or LEDs on full beam – as a safety mechanism and also preventing them activating in your backpack and draining the battery!!
BLAZE and Emily's Story
BLAZE was a concept that founder Emily designed and patented at University in Brighton. After doing a long ride for charity, Emily got the biking bug badly and started her final year of Product Design with the theme "Urban Cycling" - looking at the challenges facing city cyclists. BLAZE was her final year project and she worked with Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton & Hove Bus Company, road safety experts and driving psychologists to develop the concept.
The interest and excitement it generated led her to start her own company and commit to launching the innovation. Her startup is supported by a programme in the UK called Entrepreneur First, who provide mentoring, training, office space and access to an impressive network. She has an excellent team around her, working full time to realise her dream of getting BLAZE on bikes. The design team includes Professor Wang-Nang Wang of Bath University, LED guru and world leader in optical engineering, as well as Industrial Designer and RCA graduate, Matthew White, who’s transforming the original prototypes into a stunning product with a critical focus on design-for-manufacture. Matt has developed many successful commercial products, our favourite being the underwater aid; Bladefish.
However the team need your support to help raise the money to fund production of the first batch of BLAZE Bike Lights, as well as your feedback on what could potentially make BLAZE even better. We need your help and backing to turn this truly exciting concept and these pioneering prototypes into refined products. We are hoping that a positive response here on Kickstarter will prove demand for our innovative light. By successfully getting this first batch to you our early supporters, it will leave us in a good position to approach retailers and distributors to discuss scaling production.
-BLAZE a trail!
What Will Change
The projected image! The lenses creating the image in our current prototypes cost hundreds of pounds in development costs (hence the hefty price tag on the A'BLAZIN package). They are being redesigned during Kickstarter to create a far clearer bicycle image, in particular reducing the skewing from the angle of projection.
Risks and challenges
Attitude to Riding Safely: BLAZE does not make you invincible!! We are anticipating peoples' concerns that BLAZE will encourage people to ride more dangerously and take more risks, feeling 'safer' with BLAZE. Although we are confident that anyone wanting to buy a bike light with such a strong safety message will already be more than aware of the dangers of being caught in a vulnerable position and therefore would not take such risks, we will be sending out messages with the product to remind users to ride safely! In fact, we believe it will be a fantastic educator, it will make people think about the blind spot and consider their visibility.
Sourcing Quality Laser Modules: The laser module is the most expensive component of the whole light and therefore sourcing quality modules is critical. We are currently testing modules from different sources within our prototypes. Although receiving extremely good results and we plan to continue more extensive testing to find the very best we can. We have great links to Taiwan with thanks to Professor Wang, but we welcome the input of any backers with further expert knowledge in this field.
Settling on the final integration of design components: We’ve been optimising for design aesthetic, battery life and quality of light and laser projection. We have a number of prototypes in development, but haven’t settled yet on the final combination of components we're testing.
Casing Manufacture: Producing a relatively small batch means we can do things with care and attention, they really are going to be special! The team's focus is in creating a high quality bike light, first and foremost. The casings will be individually machined from aluminium and the whole light lovingly assembled by hand in the UK. Things might change if we have substantially more backers than we anticipate but we do have a plan B, as we're already thinking about the next steps if we were to scale production.
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