With the increasing focus on sustainable urban transport comes an increasing call for proper safety infrastructure and products. We've recently seen LED bicycle helmets, and now a company called Light Bohrd has developed LED helmets and skateboards for commuters that use their feet for pushing rather than pedaling.
Light Bohrd originally used LEDs as a cosmetic accessory, lighting up the graphics on skateboards and snowboards. It's now moving toward using its lighting technology for safety. Light Bohrd's new Urban Commuter longboard pulls the lights out from under the graphics and puts them at the tips of the board, where they serve to increase the rider's visibility. Similar to a car or bike, the front lights are white and the rear lights are red.
The lights, battery and circuitry are contained in a waterproof layer integrated directly into the board's wood construction. We were a little skeptical about how the construction might affect the board's durability, potentially causing delamination, so we reached out to Light Bohrd and asked about it.
"We're ultra sensitive about quality of construction," Light Bohrd designer Chris Forgey replied. "This is the primary reason it has taken us so long to bring our product to market. We recently had eight riders competing in the Buffalo Bill Downhill race in Golden, Colorado, where our riders reached speeds of 40 mph (64 km/h) on Light Bohrds. In the sport of longboarding, there's always a risk of damage from a board hitting a curb, launching off the fifth story of a parking garage, or careening off a cliff, all of which we've seen. Through all of this use, our boards have held up."
Light Bohrd also has plans for a Light Bohrd Helmet, which uses embedded LEDs. The lights shine blue in front and white in back, making the rider much easier to see.
Both the helmet and skateboard use motion activated lighting. The LEDs turn on when you begin moving and stay on as long as they sense vibration, so there's no way to forget to light them up. Each device charges via wireless induction hardware – simply lay the charger over the section of the board or helmet that contains the integrated battery and juice up.
Light Bohrd plans to begin selling the Urban Commuter longboard (US$145) next month and the Helmet ($85) in January.
Source: Light BohrdView gallery - 4 images