Crowdfunding sought for auto-adjusting bike light (+ video)

Xlerad gets brighter the faster you ride

by Mat Brett   December 14, 2013  

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A US company is looking for crowdfunding for their Xlerad bike light that adjusts its brightness automatically according to your speed. It’s based on the idea that the faster you ride, the more light you need to stay safe.

What’s that you say? “Another Kickstarter campaign, by any chance?” Well, yes it is actually. It’s where are a lot of innovative ideas are getting off the ground these days.

Xlerad (pronounced ik-sel-RAD, apparently) is equipped with sensors and a smart algorithm that allows it to adjust its output. It turns on automatically when it senses movement, and the amount of light it gives out varies from 200 lumens up to 1,000 lumens.

What’s the point of the automatic adjustment? The idea is that you’ll ride with the amount of light you need for safety but without wasting power by having the beam needlessly intense, so you’ll get a longer runtime and lower heat. Of course, many lights already allow you to switch between different beam modes so you can select the one you want at any given time, but the Xlerad does the job for you.

“It is a platform with several smart sensors coupled with a microprocessor which is continuously solving 3D vector calculus to achieve optimal brightness in all conditions,” say the inventors.

“Speed up and the light gets brighter, slow down and it gradually becomes dimmer. Set your bike on a rack, it will automatically turn off after a few minutes.”

The Xlerad runs on a 5,000mAh lithium ion rechargeable external battery pack and the runtime varies from 3.7 hours right up to 45 hours, depending on how fast you ride. If you like, you can also run the Xlerad light on fixed mode at 400 lumens. In that mode you’ll get a runtime of 10 hours.

The lamp unit weighs 107g and attaches to your bars using a multi-holed rubber strap, so it can handle all bar shapes and sizes, and it’s easy to remove and carry with you when you get off your bike. The battery weighs 200g.

How does the Xlerad know how fast you’re riding?

“Xlerad has an accelerometer so it is able to determine at any instant, its 3 dimensional acceleration vector,” say its inventors. “Used in conjunction with an accurate time reference, it uses numerical calculus to integrate it’s acceleration vector to get the 3 dimensional velocity vector. This data is processed in real time to estimate speed and can determine if the rider is turning or going straight. In general you need more light when you are turning or going fast. It also factors in battery level and LED temperature.”

You need to pledge US$189 (plus international shipping charges, if relevant) to get an Xlerad light, including the battery, mount and charger. The first units will ship next March if the scheme reaches its target of $18,300. They were over halfway there with 19 days to go.

For more info go to the Xlerad website or the Kickstarter page.

7 user comments

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This crowdfunding for products that we don't need is getting out of hand.

So if you are a slower rider, you aren't going to see where you are going*. GREAT (*I didn't read the article)

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8645 posts]
14th December 2013 - 14:12

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stuff like this already exists.

Full beam make the speedLED which has this functionality

posted by spasypaddy [15 posts]
14th December 2013 - 14:37

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Maybe (radical I know) they could integrate some form of switch that the user could operate that could toggle between the various brightness modes and also be used to switch it on and off. Or perhaps we need to develop a near-field-communication system or bluetooth device into the light and all streetlights so the light knows when to dim in streetlit areas. We can do a sort of crowdfunding called 'council tax' to fund this.

To eliminate any possible conflict between the accelerometers and the switch they could remove the accelerometer and its 3D vector analysis stuff and just have the switch.

That said, its an awesome idea that will really appeal to blind and visually impaired cyclists as they may not be able to see how dark it is and adjust the brightness setting manually.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
14th December 2013 - 14:42

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I had a bike light that got dimmer the slower I rode when I was a lad, think it was powered by something called a dynamo Wink

Bobbinogs's picture

posted by Bobbinogs [55 posts]
14th December 2013 - 15:13

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I don't normally pitch in with the cynics and nay sayers, but on this occasion, this light does what?

Given that they have it mounted on an mtb, are they suggesting that if I do that long 15 minute climb up into the local woods at night I don't need to see where I'm going. Because no matter how hard I try I am not going to be riding that climb fast.

Also, all the fast road I ride on are well lit, where as some of the little country lanes are not lit at all, so I would say the makers have used the latest technology to crack a neat little problem that does not exist.

posted by Grubbythumb [26 posts]
14th December 2013 - 16:21

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Design at it's best, design solutions for problems that didn't exist in the first place.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [476 posts]
14th December 2013 - 17:10

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Bobbinogs wrote:
I had a bike light that got dimmer the slower I rode when I was a lad, think it was powered by something called a dynamo Wink

Picked up a used complete set last week for £3, at any reasonable speed it throws out as much light as My Lezyne Macro Drive, it's in a better position and doesn't have to be taken off the bike whenever it's parked. Better idea! Pledge me a tenner plus postage on kickstarter and I'll see if I can get you one too.

posted by drfabulous0 [261 posts]
14th December 2013 - 22:35

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