Part of complete coverage on
Light-up wheels turn your bike into a 'Tron Cycle'
Revolights are a set of wheel-mounted LED's that increase cycle visibility, making it safer to ride at night.
Light up the way
Using innovative technology
Timed LED blinking
Jump and go
- Revolights are a set of wheel-mounted LEDs which increase cycle visibility
- The project raised five times the goal funding on Kickstarter in 2011
- Now the team is looking to Kickstarter again to develop wheels with in-built lights
- The lights are timed to blink depending on the speed the bike goes, preventing them from blinding riders
(CNN) -- Anyone that bikes dreams of riding a Tron Light Cycle. Revolights, a set of wheel-mounted LEDs, now makes that dream a little closer to reality, and a new built-in version is helping that system become even more lightweight and simple than the original bolt-on setup.
The white-and-red lighting comprises a ring of LEDs that you install around the entire edge of each of your bike rims. Using a pair of clever devices, only the forward-facing lights (or backwards, in the case of the rear wheel) illuminate when the wheel spins. The result is beautiful arcs of light that make you visible from all angles, an effect that Revolights' co-founder and CFO Adam Pettler says came by accident.
Revolights inventor Kent Frankovich didn't set out to produce the arcs, instead he was looking for a better headlight design, one that would make obstacles stand out more clearly though low angle lighting. The timed blinking of the lights was to prevent them from shining in a rider's eyes. "It wasn't until after he had created the first prototype that we realized the huge increase in rider visibility that came with it," Pettler says, "He then quickly made a red taillight to match."
Read: Ex-cop builds robot from household goods
We designed Revolights Wheels to address our largest design challenges: installation and compatibility
Adam Pettler, Revolights' co-founder and CFO
The lights use two mechanisms to tell the LEDs when to turn on and off. At low speeds, an accelerometer determines the position of the lights by reading the pull of gravity. At higher velocities, the lights switch over to calculating speed based on the wheel's period of rotation. That allows the system to synchronize a cascading LED pattern.
This is Revolights' second Kickstarter campaign. The first one was completed in 2011, raising five times its initial goal. Pettler says this second Kickstarter is being done to celebrate the release of a v2 version of the product. Interestingly, the revamped Revolights City v2.0 kits aren't one of the Kickstarter rewards.
"The City represents our second product, designed with the goal of making Revolights more accessible," says Pettler. "And while it is a new product we now offer, Revolights City is an aftermarket kit you install on your own wheels, and we felt putting it on Kickstarter would be too similar to our last campaign."
Read: Introducing the world's tiniest fisheye camera
So they went bigger. The current Kickstarter is for custom wheels with the lights built right in. It's a project created in partnership with Mission Bicycle Company (also a Kickstarter alum).
"We designed Revolights Wheels to address our largest design challenges: installation and compatibility," says Pettler. "While many cyclists enjoy their existing wheels and want to put Revolights on them, there's a whole other group of riders out there that don't want to install their own lights."
It's a smart way of using Kickstarter. For simple product updates, there's no need (and indeed some discouragement) for using Kickstarter. But by putting together an ambitious product for the crowd funding site and timing that to coincide with an update of your more stable product, you get the best of both worlds as a creator.
Subscribe to WIRED magazine for less than $1 an issue and get a FREE GIFT! Click here!
Copyright 2011 Wired.com.
Part of complete coverage on
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
It's like a chair that isn't there, but magically appears whenever you need it. It's called the Chairless Chair. Find out how it works.
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 0939 GMT (1739 HKT)
Engineer Alan Bond has been developing a new concept for space travel for over 30 years -- and his creation is now on the verge of lift off.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1210 GMT (2010 HKT)
Crumbling buildings, burnt-out PCs, and cracked screens -- a new generation of "self-healing" technologies could soon consign them to history.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 0909 GMT (1709 HKT)
Discover a dancing cactus field, basketball on the Hudson River, and mind-bending 3D projections on robotic screens.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 1707 GMT (0107 HKT)
Would you live there? Design student Peter Trimble says it's actually a surprisingly good idea.
May 14, 2014 -- Updated 1450 GMT (2250 HKT)
Singing Tesla coils, musical ice cream, vegetables on drums... and this ball? Find out how "hackers" have created a new generation of instruments.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)
Technology has long learned from nature, but now it's going micro. "Cellular biomimicry" sees designers take inspiration from plant and animal cells.
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
Forget wearable tech, embeddable implants are here. Learn more about the pioneers who are implanting devices into their bodies.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
We know how wearable tech can enhance our fitness lives but there's evidence that its most significant application is yet to come: the workplace.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0813 GMT (1613 HKT)
Samsung's research unit announces new way to synthesize graphene, potentially opening the door to commercial production.
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
iRobot, creators of vacuuming robot Roomba reveal how they learned from secret experiments -- in space travel, minefields, and toys.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1623 GMT (0023 HKT)
A light-bulb glowing in middle of a room with no wires attached. "It's the future," says Dr Katie Hall.
March 3, 2014 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
Knee replacements that encourage cells to regrow could soon be manufactured -- by spiders. Find out how.
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 1403 GMT (2203 HKT)
Meet Chuck Hull: the humble American engineer who changed the world of manufacturing.
February 6, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
The key to self-knowledge? Or just the return of the phony "mood ring"? Check out our top mood-sensing technology in development.
Today's five most popular stories