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$17,561 pledged of $70,000 goal
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By Chris Mogridge
$17,561 pledged of $70,000 goal
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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

A632d69acde88770998b49ec90091b9c original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About this project

The Shield TL is a rear tail light for your bicycle and to help make every ride safer, day or night!  

What makes it better than the tail light you have?  It is MORE  than just a tail light. The Shield TL includes a patent pending radar-based design that makes you more visible to cars equipped with radar at a distance greater than 195 meters (that is more than 2 football fields!!). This is NOT a technology available in other cycling products you can buy.

How does it work?  The Shield TL includes OTR Technology. The technology amplifies your reflective signal (making you more visible) to a car's' radar at a much greater distance than if you are riding without it. 

Visibility to a car with radar at a distance greater than 2 football fields!
Visibility to a car with radar at a distance greater than 2 football fields!

What does "OTR" stand for?  On The Radar.  This is a term we have used to "call out" the feature to consumers and help identify products that include this technology and separate them from other products that don't have the feature. 

How much more visible does the Shield TL w/ OTR Technology make you while your are riding a bicycle?  Regardless the time of day, the Shield TL  increases your radar presence by more than 100% and dramatically increases the distance you become visible to cars equipped with radar. 

Increases your radar presence on the road greater than +5dB
Increases your radar presence on the road greater than +5dB

What is my radar presence WITHOUT the Shield TL?  Below is a diagram of the radar presence of common objects.

Why is your radar presence important?  Because typically objects with a radar presence measuring +5dB or more are visible to a car's radar at a distance of 75 meters or more (this is a distance equivalent to almost 1 football field). In most scenarios, visibility at this distance gives a car and/or driver enough time and distance needed to stop the car completely and/or avoid a potential collision.

Without OTR Technology you typically measure -2db or less.  Objects that have a radar presence of +0dB or less are typically not visible to a car's radar at until 45-60 meters (this is a distance less 1/2 a football field).  Reducing the visibility by 1/2 drastically impacts how much time a car and/or driver needs to stop to avoid the collision. Below is a graph outlining the distance and time needed to stop a car if/when an object becomes visible to a car and the driver at 45 meters. 

I ride with a light so are you saying that is not enough?  Yes. Riding with a tail light is important regardless the time of day. This is why engineered OTR Technology into the Shield TL. However, riding with a tail light is not enough.  

The Problem: In 2015, more than 35,000+ collisions occurred between cars and cyclists in the U.S. Approximately every 3 minutes, world-wide, 6 people die and nearly 285 people are injured in collisions involving cars and bicycles. The majority of these accidents are from behind because drivers didn't see the rider and it is NOT because they did not have a tail light. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually to make cyclists more visible to drivers. However, the challenge remains and ALL these products depend on "THE DRIVER" seeing the you, the cyclist. 

The Solution: We believe something else can be done. TheShield TL is  designed to help the "THE CAR" see you!

How many cars on the road actually have radar?    

  •  In 2013, there were 211 out of 353 unique car models sold in the U.S. that were equipped with radar (60%).  
  •  In 2016, just 3-years later, there are 470 out of 566 unique car models sold in the U.S. equipped with radar (83%).
  • In 2018, estimates are that more than 95% of new car models sold in the U.S. will be equipped with radar. 

We want to make cycling safer and we want to improve communication between cars and riders. The Shield TL is the first cycling product with technology integrated to increase your visibility to cars with radar at a greater distance.

Sill not convinced?  Please consider reviewing the additional information we have included below.  In this project we provide detailed information to answer the other questions you might still be asking yourself.  

Additional topics covered in this project:

  • What is the current status of the Auto Industry?
  • If I pre-order a Shield TL or "back this project" what am I supporting?
  • What is a CAS system?
  • Why is radar important to a CAS system?
  • How does radar work?
  • How did you come up with this idea and how did you test and develop the Shield TL

All of the above are great questions.  Below we provide detailed results data from testing of OTR Technology as well as outline the development process. Also included are two short video examples from field testing. 

Shield TL - Makes you visible to a car at a greater distance
Shield TL - Makes you visible to a car at a greater distance

Design Prototype Images: 

 Projected Product Specifications: 

To understand the significance of the technology incorporated into the Shield TL as well as the performance benefits using this product while riding, it is necessary we provide and overview of Collision Avoidance System (CAS) technology. CAS systems are the next major advancement in the automotive industry. 

In the past 36-months, there has been a dramatic expansion of unique car models available in the U.S. equipped 'standard' with CAS technologies. A key sensory component used to activate a CAS system in a car is radar. In a recent report, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) emphasized the need for CAS features to be installed in vehicles sold in the U.S.

NTSB: www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/PR20150608b.aspx

Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated a change to how the auto industry awards the coveted 5-Star Safety Rating to a car model. Moving forward, to receive a 5-Star rating a car will have to come standard with specific CAS technologies. However, automakers are not waiting and have already dedicated significant resources to include CAS technologies in car models immediately.

NHTSA: www.safercar.gov/5Stars

Key brands actively marketing CAS technologies include:

Videos examples from car models promoting CAS Technologies:

Nissan Safety Shield - www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPAX4IfViMw

KIA - www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOQS4IKDlfE

Toyota Safety Sense - www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGugGgzU3CA

OTR Technology has been in development for over 3-years.  We have been focused on development of the Shield TL for 6-months. The prototypes debuted in the video and displayed in this project are real and were used in testing performance.

Your purchase of a Shield TL for your bike(s) and backing this project will contribute to keeping you safer while riding your bicycle on the road.  Next steps for us include:

  

Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS):   CAS is a group of advanced technologies engineered into cars to warn and/or aid drivers to prevent collisions. These technologies are part of a rapid shift toward autonomous vehicles on the road. CAS technologies include tangible elements like warning sounds, vibrating seats, side mirror and/or dashboard signals. All of these features are designed to alert drivers to mitigate potential collisions with objects on the road.  However, for these advanced technologies to be effective, the CAS system in the vehicle needs to be able to "see" the object.  

The most common CAS features are:

  • Front crash prevention
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind spot detection
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Park assist cameras
  • Backover prevention
  • Automatic Braking 
Below is an example diagram outlining sensors, processing technologies and other core components in a CAS equipped vehicle: 

 

Radar is an important CAS sensory component in a car's inventory of technologies used to pinpoint various objects on the road it wants to avoid.

Why is Radar so important? Radar is a proven, reliable, and low cost technology used to calculate the distance to objects; allowing the car to pinpoint where an object is located on the road. Radar is also a preferred sensory component because it works low visibility or poor conditions. 

 

  • Radar is transmitted in waves.  
  • Radar waves travel at the speed of light.
  • When Radar waves are reflected back by an object, the time is measured from when the radar wave was originally transmitted allowing distance to be calculated.
  • Knowing the distance to an object (Distance =Time X Speed), radar  can pinpoint the location of that object.
  • Radar reflection is measured in - Radar Cross Section (RCS) Values.
  • RCS values are impacted by: size, shape, material and angles.
  • Large, flat, metallic objects (like vehicles) have very HIGH - RCS values.
  • Smaller, less dense, organically shaped objects (like a person riding a bicycle, motorcycle or running) have LOWER - RCS values.

Our team went through several phases of development, design and testing.  Beginning with the end in mind, we identified the key elements that were critical for the technology to be relevant and useable by cyclists.  Ultimately this lead to our decision to initially engineer the technology into a commonly used safety device like a rear tail light.      


First, we established our project objectives and desired outcomes.

Primary Project Objective: Develop a radar-based application easily integrated into commonly used cycling products for mounting on the rear of a bicycle.

Desired Outcomes:  Increase the visibility of a cyclist to a CAS equipped vehicle at a greater range to help avoid potential collisions between the two.  

The design elements of focus we believed most critical to meeting the project objectives and desired outcomes are as follows: 

1) Performance – The technology design must increase the detection range of a cyclist by a CAS equipped vehicle in an effort to provide a car and/or driver more time to avoid a potential collision.

2) Form (Size & Shape) – The form of the technology needed to be compact in order for it to easily be integrated into a commonly used cycling product and/or for it to be engineered into a stand-alone device that could be easily mounted on the rear of a bicycle.

3) Lightweight – The weight of a device that a cyclist mounts on his/her bicycle is always a consideration. Our design targets were to NOT add more than 20-25g to any existing product integration and/or produce a stand-alone device that weighed 55g or less.

4) Low Cost – The technology application, regardless of how effective, had to be affordable. Our design target was an initial product that could be purchased by a broad range of consumers regardless of the cost of their bicycle.

We aggressively started the research and design of our technology idea in August of 2014. This included developing specific relationships with experts in the radar industry to better understand the limitations and uses of this technology.  We also initiated a dialogue with specific Tier 1 suppliers of CAS forward-looking radar systems to the automotive industry. One of the most important discoveries during initial development was the techniques used to increase the RCS value of a cyclist, which is the measured visibility by radar, as a means to increase the distance a cyclist becomes visible to the CAS forward-looking radar sensory system in a car.  

The science of radar reflection to increase or decrease the RCS value of an object making it more or less visible to radar is not new. The application of this technique maybe most familiar to those who have heard the term "stealth". Stealth techniques use radar reflection to make an object less visible and/or "invisible" to a radar system. We have reverse engineered this technique into a product used by a cyclist to make them more visible to a car equipped with radar. This is a revolutionary application of radar technology.  

Increasing RCS & Benefits:
Our primary target was to increase the RCS value of a cyclist to a level that the distance range visible to a CAS forward-looking radar was increased 100%. The guidelines used to establish our visibility range targets for testing are published by the Federal Motor Safety Standard.
  

Speed vs Distance Table:
How “detectable” an object is by radar is based on an objects reflective strength. Reflective strength is most commonly measured in decibels (dB) and assigned a "value" defined as the objects - Radar Cross Section (RCS). When referencing the dB measurement of an object, what is really being described is the logarithmic comparison of the signal of that object from the time of transmission to receipt (or reflection back) to the original transmission.

Decibel Measurement System: 
 
Below in Figures 5 & 6 is a image of the RCS values measured in dB assigned to "familiar" objects and an image of a CAS forward-looking radar sensory system during testing in an anechoic radar chamber. 

 

Our initial prototype designs originated using the mathematical analysis of four passive solutions. We plotted responses associated with each design and measured these responses against various angles and orientations. Several reflection renderings were created and computer modeling was used to evaluate our initial predictions as well as forecast results.  


 

We narrowed our focus on form and size. Bikes come in a range of sizes and models. Many enthusiasts already crowd their bars, bicycle frames and even person with accessories like cycling computers, saddle bags, front/rear racks, bells, front/rear lights, fenders, clip-on devices and more. Our goal was to engineer OTR Technology into a package small enough to satisfy the needs of a cyclist, but remain compatible with the 76-GHz frequency of a CAS forward-looking radar sensor.

We created several units to test our reflection models and measure the impact form and size had on the increase and/or decrease of an object's RCS value. Testing was first conducted in an anechoic chamber at a Tier 1 CAS forward-looking radar supplier to the auto industry. Early testing was very successful and the data received exceeded our pre-test computer modeling and targets we set as performance standards.  Figure 8 graphically displays the vertical pattern results of several geometrical shapes & sizes used in testing.

Figure 9 is a photo taken at the radar range.  It is an image of some of the early designs tested that are clearly too large to mount on a bicycle or be used as a stand-alone device.  While the initial designs may appear very simple to the casual observer, they are actually highly engineered to amplify the RCS value of an object. The most important early success we achieved was the accuracy of our return signal. 

Radar Range Test Results Summary: During the first phase of testing a major breakthrough was our ability to amplify a return a signal back to the point of origin that increased an objects RCS value well beyond our performance minimum (+5dB) even if the original signal was received at askew.

Having determined the specific shape and size needed to achieve our performance targets, we shifted our focus to the actual integration of OTR Technology into a product. As part of the final phase of development we wanted to test our construction of OTR Technology in relevant cycling products. Equally important at this point was the total weight and materials we used. Weight and materials ultimately impact the cost and commercial viability of delivery of a product to the consumer (you). 

Relatively speaking, bikes are not heavy objects and one of our key project targets from the beginning was a product that could be mounted on the rear of any bicycle across a range of sizes and styles. Materials we selected for initial prototypes included molded plastic, aluminum and carbon fiber. Prototypes were produced in key sizes using a range of materials to conduct additional field testing and measure the results achieved against results in the anechoic radar chamber.

Field Testing: Testing included using a CAS forward-looking radar system purchased from a Tier 1 supplier to the auto industry. The CAS forward-looking radar system was mounted on a tripod at the height radar sensors are commonly located in vehicles.  We were able to measure the RCS values of a cyclist with and without an iLumaware prototype in a dynamic environment. We were able to analyze the performance data of each size in real-time and test a full-range of riding conditions commonly encountered by cyclists on the road.

Field Testing Examples: 

  • Test 1.1B - A cyclist on open road in light traffic WITH a prototype and minimum road furniture and/or additional objects. Test Size B, the cyclist visibility range exceed 150-meters.  
With OTR:  

 

  • Test 1.1NO - A cyclist on open road in light traffic with minimum road furniture and/or additional objects.  The cyclist was NOT using a prototype and the visibility range was less than 75 meters. 

Summary of Field Testing: ALL prototypes successfully enhanced the RCS value of a cyclist by +5dB or more, increasing the visibility range by more than 100% to the CAS forward-looking radar system. Prototype test results outperformed the visibility range of a cyclist tested without an iLumaware device by more than 150%. Figures 13 & 14 summarize field testing results with and without OTR Technology.

 

 

Highlights from Field Testing Results:  

  • Avg. (RCS) Value of a cyclist using OTR Technology =  +5.2dB
  • Avg. Range of Visibility of a cyclist using OTR Technology = 198 meters    
  • Avg. (RCS) Value of a cyclist w/out a device = -2dB
  • Avg. Range of Visibility of a cyclist w/out a device = 66 meters



Risks and challenges

We are working hard to consolidate the production plan and coordinate with our supply chain on final logistics. However, we still would like to inform you that there are certain risks and challenges associated with manufacturing products. The challenges specific to this product include:

Certification & Quality Control Process:
There is always potential for unforeseen delays in the certification and quality control process. We have established very specific internal product specifications and performance targets as well as aligning with 3rd Party certification standards. If these targets are not initially achieved, our expected delivery could be delayed.

Logistics Risk
Political and/or financial instability, terrorism, trade restrictions, tariffs, currency exchange rates, transport capacity limitations, strikes or other work stoppages and factors relating to international trade that are beyond our control could affect our targeted delivery date.

Supply Chain Risk
The reliability and strength of a supply chain can be jeopardized when links in the chain are disrupted due to labor unrest or significant unscheduled downtimes due to equipment breakdowns, power failures, natural disasters and/or weather conditions. These types of supply chain disruptions may be difficult to predict and could cause delays in our target delivery date. We have developed a capable supply chain team to mitigate this risk. If there are any disruptions, we will provide updates to keep you informed and will do our best to quickly solve any problems.

IT Risk
We rely on information technology networks and systems, including the Internet, to manage and/or support a variety of business processes. A compromise and/or breach of the physical or electronic security measures we use could interrupt our operations or those of our vendors.

We are confident in our team’s ability to deliver this product on-time and we intend to keep ALL backers updated during the entire process. Thank you for your support.

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    Thank You!

    Every dollar counts!! Please help make the Shield TL available for every bike on the road. Thank you so much for your support!

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    Bicycle Safety Promo Reward #1

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Funding period

- (33 days)