Motorcycles

New device aims to put brake lights on motorcyclists' heads

New device aims to put brake l...
Placing the Brake Free on the helmet makes the light more visible to other road users
Placing the Brake Free on the helmet makes the light more visible to other road users
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The smart Brake Free light sits directly in the field of view of most road users and warns in any case of deceleration
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The smart Brake Free light sits directly in the field of view of most road users and warns in any case of deceleration
The Brake Free's only button can be easily operated with motorcycle gloves
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The Brake Free's only button can be easily operated with motorcycle gloves
The Brake Free will work continuously for at least eight hours on a single charge
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The Brake Free will work continuously for at least eight hours on a single charge
According to Brake Free, its smart light is bright enough to be perfectly visible even in daylight
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According to Brake Free, its smart light is bright enough to be perfectly visible even in daylight
Placing the Brake Free on the helmet makes the light more visible to other road users
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Placing the Brake Free on the helmet makes the light more visible to other road users
The Brake Free is 2.31 in (59 mm) thick
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The Brake Free is 2.31 in (59 mm) thick
With a 120-degree viewing angle, the Brake Free is visible to other road users that need to be warned of possible braking action
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With a 120-degree viewing angle, the Brake Free is visible to other road users that need to be warned of possible braking action

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.

The Brake Free is 2.31 in (59 mm) thick
The Brake Free is 2.31 in (59 mm) thick

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.

Source: Indiegogo

Brake Free Indiegogo Campaign

4 comments
Vernon Miles Kerr
Having the light triggered autonomously by deceleration is an awesome idea. I would encourage the manufacturer to defelop one to stick in the back window of autos. I've always thought that a "blue light" which comes on when the driver backs of on the accelerator, prior to hitting the brake, would be very helpful on the open highway.
GregVoevodsky
Look up Voevodsky Cyberlite - it was a deceleration break light for motorcycles and cars from the 70s with a million mile study in San Francisco reducing reared end collisions 60% on yellow cabs. The Feds waited till the patents ran out and mandated the 3rd break light on cars as a result. Note - the Feds did not have flashing lights that blinked faster as you slowed down as Cyberlite did - just a 3rd steady brake light. So, old idea reborn... nice to see tech catch up... LOL. The 911 Porsche version that blinked quickly under hard breaking is the closest and best to replacement for Cyberlight. Note - state laws make blinking tail lights illegal except for emergency vehicles. Cyberlight had to change California state laws and others to make it legal as well as this new knock off. :-)
Dax Wagner
This already exists! It's for sale right now. It connects to your brake light system so they are all in sync. Cheaper too I think.
bullfrog84
Light trigger, good. Light on helmet, bad (they don't always face forward).