Over recent months, we have seen a number of people try to fit more and more functions into or onto bike helmets, the most recent being the Classon helmet from US company Brookylness with indicators and sensors. All of which come at a penalty of increased weight, not to mention increased price, and with battery life being a challenge, especially for those who want to wear a helmet for touring or sportive riding.
It was therefore interesting to see French company Beakor Cycling take a different approach, with added functionality to the front and rear bike lights: “See and be seen” is the first feature area of Beakor. They incorporate directional indicators to the side of the lights, as well as laser turning indicators, which display on the ground at night to show which way the bike rider is intending to turn and help remove the blind spot that truck and bus drivers have, because the light is projected beyond the area occupied by the bike. The lights and indicators are controlled from a small switch on the handlebars. Using an inbuilt accelerometer, you even get brake light functionality!
The bike lights also incorporate front and rear high definition cameras. If you use their app, and mount your smartphone on your handlebars (Beakor offer a suitable mount), the view seen by the rear camera can be displayed on your phone, acting as a rear mirror without you having to turn. Should you wish, the cameras can supply a feed to share freely and easily with your friends – I think this is more a touring feature than something you would want to do on a daily commute.
The second aspect of the camera use is that you can record as you ride, with a continuous recording or looping, so you could have important front and rear view footage of any road rage against a cyclist, dangerous driving, or a collision: it’s almost like having the famous “black box” of an aircraft on board your bike! The footage is stored on an integrated SD memory card and the smartphone app allows you to select front and or rear camera recording as well as the quality level. The videos are directly accessible or downloadable on to your smartphone, as well as being available for sharing as indicated above.
Ludovic Kessas – who along with his brother Sébastien – heads up the company explained that as keen cyclists with an interest in technology they wanted to develop products that offer safety features usually reserved for vehicle drivers and their passengers. “We have built in this level of safety and more by incorporating the features of a connected object,” he said, adding that a growing population of cyclists is a natural part of any smart city.
“Because of the health, greener and money-saving aspects, we can expect to see more regular and electric bikes on the roads.
“Cities are investing money in cycling lanes but there are still a lot of safety issues for cyclists, mainly to do with other vehicles. We aim to bring safety through innovation,” he said.
International statistics show that one in every 1,000 cyclists will experience an accident this year and three-quarters of these happen in urban areas. The severity of accidents has increased with 15 per cent of them being severe or fatal.
The third area that Beakor focuses on is the deployment of smart phone technology, with an accident alert system via your smartphone complete with GPS position and sent via email or text to a predefined list of contacts; a tilt and movement based anti theft alarm, and cycling metrics. You even get two types of horn – a quieter one for pedestrians and a more powerful one for vehicles, both of which are activated by their respective remote control button.
Sébastien explained that some of their features are disruptive and not yet on the market – for example, streaming from the rear view camera so your phone acts as a mirror. To get this far, Beakor has been a year in the making, with teams from China, France, Israel, Russia, the USA, and of course their native France involved and contributing to the development, seeking out the best teams for each of the features and technologies.
The brothers have invested heavily in the company and are bring a crowdfunding campaign to Kickstarter on 1st September to finance the first production batch. If successful with their campaign, delivery is scheduled for February 2017 at a price of $349 for the front and rear modules, or buy each individually for $199, although early birds on Kickstarter will get reduced prices of $249 and $149 respectively for orders before the end of September.
Bike & Cycling News – SpyCycle
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