The BikeSphere smart light detects dangers between biker and driver

How can you use technology to improve the relationship between cyclists and automobiles?

A recent Michelin bike safety study showed that one in five drivers fail to give cyclists adequate room on the road. To help address this, a team of creatives and technologists—led by WYSIWYG + NURUN CTO Charly Rodriguez—used a proximity detector, light sensors, lasers and a 3D-printed orb to create BikeSphere, the first product to come out of Michelin’s Trendy Drivers bike safety program. 

Sitting at the front of the cycle, BikeSphere is used as a traditional light during the day. As night approaches, it projects a single red ring of light that indicates the safe distance area around the cycle. If an auto gets too close to this zone, the proximity sensor triggers the unit to increase the size, intensity and rotation speed of the light, alerting both cyclist and driver of the imminent danger, giving each time to react.

From idea to prototype

Many of the team’s designers are bike riders who wanted to see how technology could improve safety. They started with wearables and garments—products that already exist—and moved to the current projection-based model. The smart light project will soon be open source, and all these components can be easily purchased and plans will be available to download for 3D printing:

  • 16 PL-series miniature laser diode modules
  • 3 Arduino Pro Minis
  • 2 laser controllers
  • 2 Maxbotix proximity sensors
  • 2 L928B motor controllers
  • 1 Xiaomi 10000mah power bank

Take a look at the team's process:

I love how the team used simple components and technology to solve a common problem and looking forward to see how it advances. Things like sounds, bike-to-bike or bike-to-auto communication could become useful add-ons to this already great idea.

Eric Grant (@ericgrant) is Creative Director for the SapientRazorfish Emerging Experiences team, based out of our New York office.