Many people avoid riding their bicycles at night or in inclement weather because decreased visibility increases the chances of getting hit by a car, but an innovation by an electrical engineer could change all that.
According to CNET, a crowdfunding campaign has launched on Kickstarter to raise money for Orfos Flares, a line of LED lights that attach to bicycles. The lights are extremely bright, waterproof, and versatile. Additionally, they have a long battery life.
According to Digital Trends, the lights, which are embedded in silicone, are attached to a neodymium magnet. These magnets are very powerful, which means that the light can be affixed to nearly any part of the bike (pictures on the Orfos website show them attached to the front and the back of a bicycle), but can also be easily removed when it’s time to charge them.
The lights also boast a reflective interior, so their beam is diffused rather than pointed, creating a 360-degree source of light. The white version of the flare is equal to 500 lumens of light, which is about the luminosity of a car’s daytime running lights. The red version of the flare is about 300 lumens, which is about as bright as a car’s tail lights.
According to CNET, the Orfos Flares will last for 24 hours on a single 90-minute charge though a USB. The charge probably lasts so long because LEDs (light emitting diodes) are solid bulbs that are very energy-efficient (which save money and electricity when they are used for other purposes). Additionally, the battery life of the flares won’t degrade very much over time. Their inventor, electrical engineer Peter Clyde, expects that the batteries will last up to six years.
“Typical lithium-ion cell phone batteries retain full capacity for only about 300 to 500 charge cycles,” Clyde told CNET. “This is why after two years your phone battery dies so fast. In contrast, (our batteries) retain full capacity for a few thousand charge cycles.”
As of now, consumers can buy the flares through support of the Kickstarter campaign. About $120 will get the supporter one red or white light, or both for about $230. The retail price for the lights is expected to be $140 for one and $270 for two. According to Clyde, the high price is comparable to similar types of lights, but these use more innovative technology and higher-quality materials.
The Kickstarter campaign is slated to end on November 18th, and the Orfos Flares are expected to be released early next year.