In an effort to make the roads safer for bicyclists, two mechanical engineers have invented a bike helmet with more than 60 built-in LED lights that indicate stops and turns. The founders of the Boston-based startup Lumos have taken bike helmets “to the next level” by focusing on rider visibility and safety, as Chris Blain writes for Gizmag.
Lumos’s CEO, Eu-wen Ding, and its CTO, Jeff Haoran Chen, met at a Harvard weekend hackathon when they were both students there. Eu-wen was getting his MBA (and eventually dropped out to focus on Lumos) and Jeff was a visiting scholar, as their Kickstarter campaign page says.
Eu-wen was inspired to create Lumos because he often felt invisible at night while riding his bike, as he says in a video on the Lumos Kickstarter page. He thought there needed to be a better way for cyclists to be visible, as his Kickstarter bio says. Jeff has had many close calls with drivers as he has bicycled through Boston, his Kickstarter project bio says. He had tried out many types of bike lights before Lumos was developed, the bio says.
Cyclists often forget or misplace their lights, and sometimes lights are stolen, the Lumos Kickstarter campaign says. Lumos solves those problems by incorporating the lights into a helmet. The back of the helmet features red lights in the shape of a triangle, a commonly used warning symbol on the road, Lumos writes. The front of the helmet features white lights arranged to make the cyclist visible, whether from a driver’s rear- or side-view mirror, or from a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. And because the lights are part of the helmet, they are higher up, larger, more distinctive, and easier to see than traditional bicycle lights, Lumos writes.
Lumos makes it easy for a cyclist to signal that he or she is turning, via a wireless remote that activates the helmet’s bright yellow turn signal arrows, Lumos writes. In addition to the turn signal arrows on the back of the helmet, there is a dash that appears on the front to indicate a turn. The turn signal lights solve the problem of drivers who don’t see a cyclist’s hand signal, and also of cyclists who do not want to take a hand off the handlebars in order to signal, Lumos writes.
In addition, Lumos has a built-in accelerometer that detects when a cyclist is slowing down, and automatically displays a brake light so that anyone behind him or her can see and react to the changing speed, as the video says. Lumos is water-resistant, so cyclists do not need to worry that being caught in the rain will harm it.
[T]he helmet is powered by a 100 mAh battery that charges off a micro USB port in about 2.5 hours, so there’s no need for battery changes. According to the company, one charge should get you through a week if you use the helmet for 30 minutes each day.
Lumos says the helmet crash safety certification (CSPC in the United State and EN1078 in Europe) and it’s also a pretty smart looking lid – safety’s public image has certainly come a long way since the big foam buckets of the ’80s.
In the first two days of its Kickstarter campaign, Lumos exceeded its $125,000 goal. As of Wednesday afternoon, fans had pledged $173,217. The estimated delivery will be in August, and Lumos helmets, available in either black or white, can be shipped anywhere in the world. The retail price is expected to be about $170, Blain writes.