Two Australians have invented a way to mount a combination videocamera/taillight onto the back of a bicycle to help prevent drivers from crashing into bicyclists, reports Amanda Kooser for cnet. Inventors Andrew Hagen and Kingsley Fiegert of Perth, Australia, have mounted a Kickstarter campaign to bring their device, called Fly6, to market. Hagen and Fiegert believe drivers will be more careful when following bicyclists if they know a camera is pointed at them, writes Paul Ridden for gizmag.
In the Kickstarter video (posted below), Fiegert says he got the idea after a motorist shot him with a slingshot at point blank range a few years ago while Fiegert was riding his bike. Fiegert was in a lot of pain and shock, and nearly fell off his bicycle, he says. The inventors’ mission in creating Fly6 is to save lives. The device includes highly visible strobe and LED technology, Hagen says.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes that bicyclists have a higher risk of crash-related injury and death than occupants of motor vehicles, even though bicyclists represent only 1% of those on the roads. In 2010, for example, the CDC reports that almost 800 bicyclists were killed across the U.S. and 515,000 visited emergency rooms because of accidents on the road. In Colorado, eight people lost their lives in 2011 as a result of bicycle accidents on the roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis.
Ridden describes the Fly6 as follows:
The device attaches to the seat post of the host bike and records whatever is behind the cyclist in real-time, time-stamped 720p high definition video at 30 frames per second through a 130 degree wide-angle lens and 16-bit/32 kHz resolution mono audio via the built-in microphone. Video recording continually loops, over-writing earlier recordings for set and forget usage. The Fly6 will ship with an 8 GB microSD media card, but can take up to 32 GB. With the supplied card, this effectively means that users will always have the last two hours of footage before earlier AVI video files are sacrificed.
In addition, Ridden notes, the Fly6, which weighs 3.7 ounces, is nano-coated and also covered at the top to protect it from water, and has a 1500 mAh Li-ion battery that can handle more than five hours of continuous video and audio recording. It has a USB port and includes incident-capture protection, he adds. Although the camera was designed for daytime use, it performs “pretty well” in low light, but not in total darkness, Ridden writes.
Fly6’s designers say that should an accident occur, the software shuts the camera down in one hour, as long as the bike is tipped past 45 degrees for more than three seconds, Ridden writes. And if the Fly6 is damaged such that power has been lost, the footage is still saved, because data is written live to the card, he writes.
Hagen and Fiegert have given 150 pre-production prototypes to cyclists throughout Australia for a trial run, Ridden writes. And although the designers have a fifth prototype, more refinements are needed before the Fly6 is ready for market, Ridden writes.
Ridden writes that people have already signed up for the first 100 units. He says for a $107 pledge, a backer will get a package that includes seat post mounts, straps, spacers, a USB cable and a microSD card. Delivery of the units to backers is set to begin in April, with a retail roll-out to Australian customers planned for July, and U.S. and European retail distribution to follow in October or November, Ridden writes.
Hagen told Ridden that even if the Kickstarter campaign did not reach its target amount, he and Fiegert would continue with the Fly6; but as of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign had already exceeded its $95,000 goal, with 25 days left to raise money. The inventors have a clever logo slogan:
Fly6 Watching your back.
You can see the Kickstarter campaign’s video about the Fly6 here: