New device aims to put brake lights on motorcyclists' heads
A new startup from California is campaigning for a smart motorcycle brake light that can be fitted to any helmet without requiring installation on the bike. The Brake Free works autonomously, alerting motorists to deceleration, even if the brakes haven't actually been applied.
With a relatively small and usually single tail-light source, most motorcycles can easily escape the attention of other road users. This safety matter has already been addressed with several solutions, like BMW's dynamic brake light, the Stoptix brake light, or Vololight's license-plate setup.
Brake Free goes one step further, by placing an extra brake light on the back of the rider's helmet, effectively closer to the eye level of most other drivers. Comprised of 100 ultra-bright LEDs, its casing incorporates an accelerometer and gyroscope sensors and works completely independently, doing away with the hassles of connecting to the motorcycle in any way.
Its sensors can detect when the vehicle is decelerating, regardless whether this results from engine braking, or actually hitting the brakes. The Brake Free is designed with a wide viewing angle of 120 degrees, so it should be perfectly visible by any vehicle in the rear vicinity of the motorcycle.
Once turned on, the Brake Free creates an extra red light on the helmet that can be set to either continuous or flashing modes. In both cases the light will brighten intensely once the sensors pick up any deceleration and, even in the continuous mode, it will start flashing in the case of emergency braking.
Fed by a 2.600 mAh Li-ion 18650 rechargeable battery, it can work for eight hours before requiring another two for charging. It is weatherproof up to IP64 standards, weighs just 170 g (6 oz), and requires an area of 6.38 x 3.28 in (162 x 83 mm) at the back of the helmet for installation.
The Brake Free secures in place with two neodymium magnets, which in turn stick to the helmet with adhesive mounts. This simple setup allows for the rider to use the smart brake light on more than one helmet by buying extra magnetic mounts at US$10 per pair. According to its designers, it should fit most helmets in the market, and it is perfectly safe in case of an accident, as its mount will allow it to come off before its drag becomes a potential danger.
The Brake Free is expected to become available in April 2018, at a retail price of $149. This is the result of a very successful Indiegogo campaign that has managed to almost double its $50,000 target, with eight days still left. Take a look at the campaign video below, and if you're interested, you could snag a Brake Free for the "late-bird" price of $109. That is assuming, of course, that all goes according to plan – never a given in crowdfunding campaigns.