About this project
WHAT IS IT?
Have you ever wished you could let drivers behind you know you are slowing down by engine braking or downshifting? What if you could indicate not only that you are slowing but how fast?
With Vololights, now you can!
Vololights is a powered license plate frame with it's own set of bright LED's. Using embedded intelligence, it measures the deceleration of your motorcycle regardless of how you are slowing down. Deceleration is also perceptible to the driver behind you.
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT VOLOLIGHTS?
You might have seen other products on the market that flash the rider's brake lights to draw the eye's attention. Two major deficiencies of these systems are as follows:
1) Current systems are tied to the foot and handbrake signal only. They do not account for slowing from engine braking and downshifting. Even though you may be decelerating, drivers behind you might not realize this until it's too late. Vololights overcomes this by physically measuring any type of deceleration.
2) Today's brake lights are not perceptible. What that means is a driver behind you might see your brakes solid or flashing but they cannot tell whether you are 'tapping' on the brakes or slamming on the brakes. Vololights solves this problem by varying it's rate of flashing with the urgency with which you are slowing.
Vololights' patented technology combines a 3 axis accelerometer and microprocessor to measure your deceleration from any means; whether engine braking, downshifting or gripping the brakes.
HOW EASY IS IT TO INSTALL?
Vololights is designed for simple installation with no special crimping tools required. The license plate frame runs on your motorcycle's 12 VDC power taken from the rear license plate illumination bulb. Not to worry, Vololights has it's own onboard license plate illumination LED so you will still be street legal.
Use the included 4 screws to secure your license plate between the front and rear frame. Then take the 2 bolts that secured your license plate to your bike and use these two secure the frame assembly to the motorcycle. Use the included quick connector to secure the two wire power and turn the motorcycle's power on. Finally, calibrate Vololights one time by placing our magnet (included) in front of the lens momentarily while the motorcycle is upright on a flat surface. Vololights will flash letting you know the device is calibrated. Now you're ready to ride!
WILL MY PLATE FIT INTO THE VOLOLIGHTS FRAME?
We planned for the fact most states have slightly different motorcycle license plate sizes. While we have accounted for 47 of the 50 states, residents of Alaska, New Mexico, and Minnesota should check the "Fit" dimensions here.
Your license plate might fit as-is or with modifications. Check the dimensions below for more information. If plate modifications are required, please be sure to comply with local laws and regulations.
VOLOLIGHTS MODULE (New Version, Update #6)
- Harley Davidson owners
- International/domestic riders with different sized license plates
- Customers with fender eliminator kits
- Riders who do not want to see additional hardware on their motorcycles but want the benefits of Vololights: Enhanced Motorcycle Visibility
What is a Vololights Module?
This is essentially an upgraded circuit board without the LED lights or license plate frame. It is a ‘black box’ design that will function the same although it will be installed under your seat (or other suitable location) and in-line with your current brake lights or directional signals.
The module will be about 2” x 2” (5.08 cm x 5.08 cm) in a weatherproof box with two sets of wire leads on both ends.
Will the installation be difficult?
While slightly more involved than the license frame version, the module is well suited for riders who are comfortable performing simple electrical tasks on their motorcycle. The installation will require splicing into the directional signals or brake lights but we will have detailed instructions for those with limited electrical experience.
Will the module work with all motorcycles?
The Vololights Module will work on most motorcycles with standard 12 VDC running to the brake lamps or signal lamps.
If you have a plate that does not fit our plate holder, this is the product for you.
NOTE: If your motorcycle uses a CanBus system, (many BMW models) you will not be able to install the modular Vololights device at this time.
Why does the schematic below show two wiring scenarios? Customers will have the option of installing the modular version of Vololights to trigger the directional lights (both flash as to not be confused with a turn) or the brake light(s). This is up to the user’s preference.
When will I get it and how much will it cost?
The modular version of Vololights is now listed in the Kicker section for $69 and will be available in October.
Sticker: 4" two color die cut sticker on transparent backing is perfect for your car or motorcycle. Help spread the word and create awareness for improved visibility on two wheels.
T-Shirt: SUPER soft tri-blend tees by Next Level with our two color logo. Available in black (S, M, L, XL) and multiple styles Men's V-Neck Men's Crew Neck Women's Deep V-Neck We'll get your size and style at the end of the campaign.
Risks and challenges
Vectolabs is raising money for development of a plastics mold and the brake lens optics. We have an industrial designer working with both electrical and mechanical engineers to ensure we nail the design and functionality of the device. While we have been maintaining stringent product development schedules, there are potential setbacks to consider.
Mold design is not a perfect science. While we work with talented vendors, there are possibilities that the plastic doesn't dry evenly or fit together with other parts of the assembly. We hope to get the mold right in one shot but rest assured we will not release product to our backers with any known mechanical, electronic or functional issues.
At the same time we're focused on functionality and quality of the device, our industrial designer Fausin won't put his name on a product he doesn't think matches the aesthetics of today's motorcycles. That said, we have to fast track a new optics design for the production unit. The prototype lenses are not 'sexy' enough for his liking (the current shape is his design but not the lens pattern). Mechanical and plastics engineers will still have to translate those designs into functional parts and that process could produce a delay.
HOW WE WILL ADDRESS CHALLENGES OR DELAYS
We will be in constant communication with our backers. With riding season upon us, we are doing everything we can to get Vololights in the hands of motorcyclists; after all, their visibility on the road is what this project is all about.
All of the electronic components are surface mounted parts assembled by machines. By minimizing human assembly of the PCB board, we will be able to reduce the introduction of human error while keeping costs down.
We source our components only from vendors that have strict controls and have ISO9000 certification.
All boards will be functional tested to a "final test" procedure and signed by a technician before it ever leaves our door.
We source our mechanical parts in the US and ensure the mold design will have an iterative process before it is completed. The process starts with a 3D print for fit testing, silicone molding to identify any potential manufacturing issues, and finally a CNC cut aluminum or steel mold.
Although our budget will not allow for ISO certifications at this time, we follow the processes mandated by the respective ISO committees. This means all engineering documents are revision controlled in addition to Vectolabs, LLC maintaining a strict ECO process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
There are four LEDs in each row. (Top and Bottom). The LEDs are surface mount LEDs designed for automotive applications. CHMSL (Third brake lights) and turn signals. Viewing angle is 50 degrees. Typical brightness for each LEDs are 2100 mcd.
REVISION: Please note Update #2 as there is a high probability that these specifications will improve. -Jesse
There's been some lengthy internal discussions about this topic as to what the flashing sequence would be and whether it is adjustable. While nothing is set in stone, our early thought is we might want the behavior to be consistent and not adjustable at the user level. Reason being, it would develop the response mechanism from the following drivers that 2 flashes per second is always normal breaking and 5 flashes is emergency. Drivers would always know what to expect.
That said, maybe the low end flashing is both LED bars flashing then turning solid as a backer mentioned. Kickstarter is great because we can get instant feedback from customers before we've finished development! The reason why we went with 5 Hz on the high end is this was a rate recommended by NHTSA to alert inattentive eyes. In addition, if you read most state motorcycle handbooks, they suggest flashing the brakes on hard braking; we're just automating that process.
Vectolabs will be developing the product for the international market once we get some traction domestically.
Development might include a package design similar to what is shown with a larger plate size or a module that plugs inline to your existing brake lights. The module was the original path we were headed and we will return to it's development.
It is really going to take some marketing research to figure out where the device will sell and what form factor is better suited for each market.
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