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Tartu, Estonia-based startup Velodroom leverages tech to solve a problem any bike commuter can sympathize with – how to add lights to your ride that are convenient to use and require absolutely nothing from the rider besides a simple installation. The Velodroom light borrows some tricks from tech available in any smartphone to give the Velodroom a mind of its own, with some very useful consequences.
The Velodroom’s tricks are mostly about automating repetitive actions that are normally done manually on most bike lights, including powering on and off, activating brake lights and adapting brightness to current lighting conditions. It does all that while conserving battery via an auto shut-off mechanism that activates the light only when motion is detected, and it has an internal battery with 4x the energy capacity of two AAA batteries, which is rechargeable via USB.
Essentially this makes Velodroom a more-or-less fix and forget solution to bike lighting woes, with the added benefit that it actually flares when you start braking, the same way a car’s rear lights do, which is bound to increase safety and visibility at night, especially for riders negotiating traffic in busy urban locations. Plus the variable light levels based on sensors should ensure the battery lasts as long as possible: Velodroom is targeting three months usage on average, or over 100 hours of continuous power when turned on at full brightness.
Velodroom is the product of a team that includes Sven Sellik, Andri Laidre, Indrek Rebane, Tavvi Hein and Mihkel Heidelberg, who between them combine extensive experience in product design, electronics, programming and the science of sensors. The startup team wants to eventually reinvent more types of bike accessories, and move the market in general to more hassle-free products and designs, but is starting with the bike light since it’s a near-perfect demonstration of how readily available tech can improve a biker’s life right now.
The Kickstarter project has two weeks left in its funding cycle, and is looking for £34,600 (around $54,000 U.S.). Pre-orders for backers start at £35 ($55 U.S.), and shipments should start as early as September 2013 if the startup sticks to its initial targets. Should everything work out according to plan, it’ll be great to see where Velodroom goes next with its high-tech approach to cycling accessories.