Brake lights are there to inform following traffic that the vehicle is slowing down, but what happens if the deceleration is not the result of braking? The Stoptix automatic brake light is designed to alert other road users that deceleration is taking place in front of them even when the brakes have not been applied.
There are many circumstances that may lead to a vehicle rapidly slowing down; braking is just one of them. Sudden mechanical failure, running out of fuel, collision, downshifting or simply rolling off the throttle can catch the following traffic unaware – even more so if those coming from behind fail to keep a safe distance or are distracted.
Mech Optix from Huntsville, Alabama, developed the Stoptix device specifically for these situations where deceleration occurs prior to braking. The time between the moment when a vehicle starts to slow down and the activation of its brake lights may well be the decisive factor that separates a rear-end collision from safe evasive action. For instance, a vehicle travelling at 55 mph (88.5 km/h) covers 80 feet (24.4 m) in one second. In other words, for every second that this driver is unaware of the traffic ahead stopping, he is losing 80 good feet for braking.
Stoptix is designed to detect deceleration and light up regardless whether the brakes are applied or not. An electronic circuit contained within the light bulb includes the deceleration sensor, an LED light and its own power source. The battery can hold its charge for a maximum of three hours, translating to 20 seconds of continuous lighting and quickly recharges when you hit the brakes. In practice this means that once the brake is applied for two or more seconds, Stoptix will be charged and ready to intervene when needed. Needless to say that it will also perform all the typical tasks of a tail/brake light.
Unlike more elaborate systems – such as BMW’s dynamic brake light that offers enhanced warning during braking – Stoptix requires no modification to the vehicle, as it simply plugs in place of any typical 1154 (US), 1157 (US) or P21/5W bulb. This means that it’s compatible with most motorcycles, cars or other vehicles that use these standard sockets – with the exception of rear-loading bulbs. Mech Optix designed Stoptix specifically for motorcycles, but plans to offer similar safety products for the whole automotive field and is also working on a bicycle brake light which will soon launch on Kickstarter.
Stoptix is also weatherproof, shines brighter than the typical incandescent bulb and promises a lifespan of five years or 500,000 working cycles. It is compatible with both 6 and 12 V vehicles and it has even been successfully tested on motorcycles with CAN bus systems. Its operating temperatures range from -22 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 to 65 degrees Celsius), meaning that there are very few places on Earth where it would fail to operate.
The suggested retail price is US$79.95 (€72) for one bulb or $139.95 (€125) for a pair, although a limited pre-order offer is currently running at $59.95 (€54) per bulb or $99.95 (€89) per pair.
Watch the Stoptix bulb in action in the following video.
Source: Mech Optix