It’s a smart idea, but all the gear can get a bit unwieldy for someone who just wants to pick up a gallon of milk before the market closes.
Startup Revolights appears to have incorporated bicycle illumination in a far more logical way than simply attaching a lamp to the front fork and seat shaft of your ride.
Instead, the company moves the glow to the wheels with a rim-mounted tube of LED lights. Connected to a small, USB-rechargeable battery mounted on the hub, the lights rotate as you ride, blinking in a sequential pattern that indicates which direction the rider is moving in.
The idea is to mark bicycles more like automobiles: bright white lights up front that project onto the street, and red rear lights in back that, instead of indicating a simple brake function, actually slow down in sequence as the bicycle does in speed.
(How, you ask? By using a small magnet installed on the bike’s fork that can detect the wheel’s revolutions. The data is fed into an algorithm which then translates to light changes via the electronic system in the rim.)
There’s a lot to like here. Aside from the visual feedback, a system offers a nice standard for two-wheeled commuters. While the current system is merely a prototype — it could use some strengthening to handle real-world conditions — the next step is to abandon the battery and allow the revolutions of the bike wheels to power the device. (Revolights, indeed.)
Partially an effort to bring familiarity to bike lights, partially a way to offer smarter visual feedback to motorists and other riders about the bike’s motion, it’s a nice alternative that looks good, too.