VeloCityLight: a bright rear LED light, displays your speed, acts as a brake light and gives clear information to approaching drivers. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on January 11, 2014.
About this project
VeloCityLight - The Project
The idea behind the VeloCityLight is to make cycling safer. It is a powerful rear LED light that displays your speed to drivers and makes you bright, distinct and visible on the road
Why display your speed?
It can be hard to judge how fast a cyclist is going. We think that showing an approaching motorist your speed will make them think, and help them make better decisions. Maybe you're doing 15mph in a 30mph zone and they'll think twice about how fast they're approaching. Maybe you're at the limit in a 20mph zone and they realise they shouldn't try to overtake you. Or maybe you're downhill at high speed on a country road, and they realise they're going to have to allow more time to pass you. Or maybe you just like showing off your speed to other cyclists!
Can it be read at a distance?
We've tested this. The display is clearly readable on the lowest brightness setting at about 45 metres. That's about double the typical stopping distance of a car driving at 30mph. At normal closing speeds a driver will have many seconds to read it.
Drivers see the VeloCityLight and can associate the displayed speed with their own rate of travel. It’s a prod, a mental prompt to re-evaluate their own rate of travel and their subsequent actions. It's effect on drivers is fundamentally different from any other red light, A red light is just another red light. A colour remains an element in sensory memory, it's fleeting and passing. A number is a meaningful symbol that has to be processed, registered and stored in semantic memory. This is what makes the VeloCityLight something special.
Regardless of whether the cyclist is travelling at the speed limit or at a gentler pace, VeloCityLight gives the approaching car more information about the cyclist in the visual noise of traffic, day or night.
- differentiates you immediately as a cyclist in the visual noise of the traffic
- It shows your speed of travel in either Kph or Mph making drivers re-assess their rate of approach
- It works as a brake light, getting increasingly brighter as you slow down.
- As a stand alone rear light, the VeloCityLight is one of the brightest rear lights available on the market – 48 LEDs giving out between 20 to 175 lumens.
- It has 4 adjustable levels of brightness and a sensor to automatically adjust brightness to match the ambient light conditions, so you get the best trade off between the conditions and power.
- Based on an ANT wireless chip, it works with existing ANT sensors used with many cycle computers. Our VeloCitySensor will also send data to your existing ANT based cycle computer.
- USB rechargeable, 1700mAh internal battery offers 4 to 12 hours of continuous use depending on the brightness setting
- Precision battery monitoring shows you an accurate percentage of battery life remaining, both when charging and at a push of a button.
- Water and dust proofed to IP66 it’s at home in the wilds of Scotland or the Outback. The USB port is covered by a waterproof seal (not shown in prototype)
- Lightweight around 65 grams and easily detachable from the seat post bracket for security.
- Size designed to the dimensions of an iPhone.
- Configurable for all wheel sizes
- Our ANT send device attaches to the fork and works with the spoke magnet to measure the speed.
The Project So Far
I’ve been cycling for over 40 years and cycle commuting for over 30. The team at 1partCarbon are all cyclists too. Over many years of cycling in traffic and open roads we’ve had our fair share of incidents with cars, buses and lorries.
We’ve spent the last 6 months working through from original design to our existing prototype. As predominantly software guys, our first prototype was designed to test the idea. It had no wireless, just a lovely board with big LEDs and some great home made soldering from Paul, who then turned his software skills to getting the whole device working. And it did!
Final and Original Prototypes
Then we called in our friend Martin, a true electronics genius-in-residence working out of our neighbouring Hacklab. Martin has been designing electronic devices for many years and helped us turn our simple concept into a top quality, energy efficient design.
We based the design on an ANT based chip so those cyclists with ANT devices could use their existing set up and our own ANT send device (VeloCitySensor) would also work with many cycle computers.
Then Martin called in Joe, a 100 mile + a week cyclist and an industrial product designer with over 25 years experience. Joe helped ensure that the VeloCityLight is light, robust and waterproof and the comfortable size of an iPhone, at around half the weight.
We’ve worked through 3 months of iterations and road testing, refining the design with features like the sleek black PCB, waterproof seals, micro USB. More importantly we’ve drawn up the designs ready to move into production and applied for patents for several features.
VeloCityLIght Technical Specification
Brightness - 48 LEDS giving 20 to 175 lumens
Power - USB rechargeable, 1700mAh internal battery offers 4 to 12 hours usage
Weight - approx 65 grams
Dimensions - 110mm x 60 mm x 20mm
VeloCitySensor Technical Specification
Accurate - Unlike other ANT sensors on the market, it includes an accelerometer which helps it get faster and more accurate speed updates delivered to your VeloCityLight and/or cycle computer.
Power - It runs from a CR2032 lithum battery which will last for years.
Dimensions - It's small - 42mm x 36mm x 13.5mm and aerodynamically shaped to fit to your fork with minimum drag.
Production - Why we need Kickstarter
To date we've developed the prototypes from the team's own funds to get to the point of being production ready. With a fully costed Bill of Materials and production ready design files, we are currently talking to and shortlisting manufacturers. We need the funding to get the ball rolling.
We are looking to build a beautifully designed product using great materials, meeting engineering standards and still be really competitively priced. Currently our negotiations are aimed at ensuring the manufacturing will be in Europe and we hope to achieve this. The partners we are negotiating with have agreed to our detailed input at every point of the process so we can ensure VeloCityLight meets our and your expectations.
With the festive period upon us (did we mention what a great little IOU stocking filler this would make for the MAMIL or MAWIL in your life?), our likely delivery date will be March but we are aiming to get the first units out by February.
Your Kickstarter funding will pay for the tooling, components, manufacture and assembly.
Meet the Team
From the start, the VeloCityLight has been a team project, a group of friends and colleagues who believed that we could make a light which would make road cycling safer.
Euan - came up with the original concept. A cycle commuter for over 30 years, he has spent 25 years building hi-tech software products, games, and technology prototypes. He will manage the project. When he's not working he does on and off road standard and Ironman triathlons, mountain marathoning and orienteering. He also commutes with a GoPro attached to his helmet.
Paul - built and programmed the first VeloCityLight. Paul has a CS degree from Heriot Watt University where he specialised in AI and graphics. For the last 17 years he has worked in software design, with emphasis on mobile applications and games. He co-founded 1partCarbon with Euan in 2012. Fun to Paul means Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, marathon (road and mountain) running, cycling and orienteering.
Martin - designed, built and programmed the final prototype and is managing the full technical production and build process with our manufacturing partners. Martin has over nine years experience of electronic hardware & firmware development. His designs have been deployed in environments ranging from aircraft to operating theatres, to eye sockets. He's also an experienced glider pilot, climber, Frisbee player and of course a cyclist.
Stephen - is an MSc Multimedia & Interactive Systems graduate with experience developing social media, interactive learning software and U/X He is also responsible for the fine filming to get the Kickstarter campaign to this level. Time off results in a 3:36 marathon runner, downhill mountain biker and munro bagger.
Ruth - graduate of Glasgow School of Art, web and graphic designer, animator, film editor, Ruth has been responsible for the web design and packaging around the product but most importantly created the video, including most of the GoPro footage. When she is not designing she represents Scotland at Touch (rugby), competes in off-road triathlons and cycles many many miles both commuting and for leisure.
Mark - our cycle 'talent', a cross country mountain biker, rock climber, kite-boarding juggler and founder of ScottishClimbs website. During the day Mark is one of the team's senior software developers.
Joe - has 25 years experience in product design engineering working on a wide variety of industrial and consumer products for small firms to international corporations. He has worked on the VeloCityLight design and will be working on the project throughout the production phase having many years experience in working with manufacturers. He is also the team member with the most cycle miles under his belt, cycling 100 + miles a week
We could not have managed the project without the huge input from Sandy (PhD the man that suggested the choice of chip), Dave, Alan, Pete, Paul, Johnnie (for introducing us to Martin!), Edinburgh Hacklab for their facilities, and Scarlet Shift for their music.
Risks and challenges
On a technical level the main challenges have been met and overcome. We
have working prototypes and production ready designs. The specs you see
for power management, runtimes, and so forth are proven. We're still
making improvements to some features like the braking effect but as of today we are good to go.
Our main challenges will be the speed of production and finalising the right manufacturing partner.
In the next 30 days, while the Kickstarter campaign is running, we will be finalising the appointment of our partner(s) for manufacturing the product. We have a series of price quotations and are negotiating with companies in the UK, mainland Europe and the Far East. Our aim is to bring the whole process as close to home as we can.
Many of the companies we are working with on the project have worked with one or more of the team in the last few years, so we have an understanding of their systems, quality and delivery mechanisms
The complexity of the device and accessories has meant we have taken a lot of time to ensure we have the correct manufacturing partners in place. We will make the decision within 14 days of the completion of the fundraising canpaign
We will have tooling completed by mid February and the first manufacturing prototypes in our hands before the end of the month.
By the end of March we will have our first products to ship.
Management of the process
Martin (electronics), Euan (process and business management) and Joe (product design) will be managing the process. The team has worked on international product management and distribution so have a lot of experience in getting it right.
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We've tested this.
In the dark at the lowest light setting it is readable at 40 to 45 m, around double the typical stopping distance of a car travelling at 30 mph.
This means, for example, that when a car is travelling at 35 mph approaches a bike travelling at 14 mph, the driver will have around 4.5 seconds to read and make a decision about how to approach the cyclist safely. If you think about it that’s a lot of time.
And even before it's close enough to read clearly, the fact the light is spread over a wider area means it's easier to see that it's getting closer, compared to a single red light.
It does both. It takes 10 seconds to toggle between the two.
The band Scarlet Shift kindly let us use their track Brother for the video. Thanks Guys!
For more info about the band go to:
- (30 days)