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08/08/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

Be seen with rims that light up



Night time cycling is with its risks but two American undergraduate students have been working on a bicycle lighting research project that aims to make cyclists identifiable from all angles on the road to motorists and pedestrians, especially from a sideways perspective.

Under the name of Project Aura, the two students, Ethan Frier and Johnathan Ota, have developed a process that will illuminate the wheels of a bicycle when the bicycle is in motion.

How does it work

Ethan and Jonathon have been able to perfect a process whereby they can safely build LED lights into the rim of a bicycle wheel. The lights illuminate via power derived from a dynamo hub on front wheel of the bike. So the lights work as long as you pedal. There is also a power control so you can turn off the light system for daytime riding.

A further innovation of the system is that the LED lights change from white when at cruising speed to red when slowing down. This is acheived by expanding the surface area of light inside the rims of the wheels.


Being a university project, Ethan and Jonathon never envisaged going into production with their invention but are now taking steps towards commercialisation of Project Aura. So far help and funding for Project Aura has come from their place of study, the Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.

Ethan and Jonathon are looking out for people to help on the engineering and business side of the Aura wheel lighting system to take the project on a production level.  The working prototype they have (as can be seen in the video below) still has a few quirks that need to be worked out.

Project Aura: Bicycle Safety Lighting System from Project AURA on Vimeo.

See also

Detection technology helps protect cyclists at traffic lights

Tour of Britain puts out call for more volunteers

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

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