"Smart" LED bike pedals change color to serve as head- and tail lights
While a headlight and tail light are essential for night-time bicycle commuting, one thing that really catches motorists' eyes is movement. Arclight Bike Pedals were designed with that in mind, as they feature auto-color-changing LED modules.
Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, the Arclights are being manufactured by Philadelphia-based Redshift Sports. The company previously brought us the ShockStop suspension handlebar stem and seatpost.
Each pedal has an aluminum body, with one slot on the front and one on the back. The IP64 waterproof LED modules magnetically pop into those slots – so there are two modules per pedal. When the rider starts pedalling, motion detectors in each module trigger the LEDs to illuminate in the user's choice of Flash, Eco or Steady modes. Once the bike has been left sitting still for a while, the lights automatically power down.
However, one thing that's particularly cool about the Arclights is the fact that the modules "know" if they're facing forward or backward, and illuminate in white or red accordingly.
"Each pedal has embedded magnets located in specific spots, with the left pedal one polarity and the right pedal the opposite," Redshift co-founder Erik de Brun tells us. "When a light module is inserted into a pedal, a hall-effect sensor (magnetic field sensor) in the module detects a North or South pole and knows if it is on the right or left side of the bike. Then we have a sophisticated accelerometer/gyro chip that lets us determine the rotational position of the pedal using gravity, filtering out any motion from actually pedalling and moving on the bike. Then we match up which side of the light module is up with which pedal it's in, and we know if it's in the back or front and set the color from there."
That same rather complex-sounding technology also allows the LED modules to be removed from the pedals and used as more conventional headlights or tail lights. When each unit gets attached to an included magnetic mount that's either facing forward from the front of the bike or backward from the back, it automatically illuminates in white or red as required.
Of course, the modules can also be removed simply to charge their lithium-ion batteries. An included USB dock charges all four at once, with one 2-hour charge reportedly being good for runtimes ranging from three hours in Steady mode to 36 in Flash.
Should you be interested in getting yourself a set of Arclight Bike Pedals via the Kickstarter, a pledge of US$89 is required. Assuming they reach production, their retail price will be $135. You can see them in use, in the video below.