The startup I currently work with is launching a new product, a backpack with integrated lights, for improving visibility of cyclists on roads. The product is called Aster. (whose meaning in earlier times was ‘a star’)
The backpack features rear lights,front lights, indicator lights and automatic brake lights. It comes with a handlebar control unit for controlling the indicator
lights and the unit also doubles as a theft deterrent for your bike, by generating a motion alert on your parked bike.
The design of the bag itself is unique and has lots of cool features, such as it opens up completely flat for easy packing, has easy access laptop compartment, quick access bottle holder, a minimalist helmet holder, U-lock holder,separate dirty laundry compartment, and lots of space for whatever you would like to stuff.
Coming to the lights part, the bag is equipped with a total of 54 LEDs (a number which might change by (+-)1,2 units as we fine tune it for the final run) which light up various areas of the backpack at various instances. Rear lights are for normal visibility, are red in color, and can be set to steady or blinking mode. Front lights are much brighter, are white and help the cyclist be visible in the rear view mirror of the motorists ahead. Profile lights are on left and ride sides of the bag, are steady and red, and help judge the distance and width of the cyclist ahead. Indicator lights are amber in color and they turn on/off when you press the respective button on the handlebar unit. There is also reflective print on the bag.
The backpack also comes with a USB rechargeable battery. The handlebar unit is powered with a coin cell battery. There will be a whole bunch of customizations of the lights possible with the mobile app.
My contribution has been in developing algorithms for braking detection and theft alarm with sensors on the handlebar unit (so if you have any related questions there, just shoot).
We are a super small team of engineers, designers and biz guys based in Bangalore, India and we have designed and manufactured the product completely locally and are very proud of this.
More details about the product at the crowdfunding page.
The campaign will be on for two months from today. (And we are completely funded. Thanks everyone for the support! =)) If you find Aster of utility, then don’t forget to support it and spread the word. 🙂
A big shoutout to everyone who gave us valuable feedback at various stages of development!