Bicycles

Lumigrids – the LED projector that keeps cyclists out of potholes

Lumigrids – the LED projector ...
Lumigrids aims to make cycling at night that little bit less perilous
Lumigrids aims to make cycling at night that little bit less perilous
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Lumigrids aims to make cycling at night that little bit less perilous
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Lumigrids aims to make cycling at night that little bit less perilous
The projector clips onto your bicycle's handlebars
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The projector clips onto your bicycle's handlebars
The size of the grid can be adjusted by the rider, on the move
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The size of the grid can be adjusted by the rider, on the move
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Lumigrids is a simple, clever and above all useful concept that aims to improve the safety of cycling at night. The device is an LED projector that fits on the handlebars of your bicycle, projecting a square grid onto the ground before you. By looking at the changes and abnormalities in the grid, the cyclist is able to easily pick out potholes and other obstacles, helping them to avoid potential crashes and falls.

The team behind Lumigrids claim that the design is an improvement over traditional bicycle lamps, which casts shadows around both concave and convex obstacles, making it difficult for the rider to judge the surface effectively. Lumigrids' grid projection system makes it a lot easier to identify the nature of the abnormalities, with the squares of the grid bending and changing in an easy way for the rider to process.

The projector has three different settings, offering a variety of grid sizes that are designed for use in different situations. The device's normal mode will display a 140 x 180-mm (5.5 x 7.1-inch) grid, the high speed mode ups the area to 140 x 260 mm (5.5 x 10.2 inches) and the “team” mode widens the grid to 300 x 200 mm (11.8 x 7.9 inches).

The size of the grid can be adjusted by the rider, on the move
The size of the grid can be adjusted by the rider, on the move

Like normal bicycle lights, the light itself will also alert pedestrians and vehicles to the rider's presence, further improving safety. The device is powered by either the movement of the bike's wheels or by an internal battery. There's only one button on the device, which should make it possible to turn the projector on and off and run through the modes while on the move.

The Lumigrids device isn't the first time we've seen projectors used to improve cyclists' safety. Xfire's Bike Lane Safety Light projects a virtual bike lane on the road around the bike, while the BLAZE light projects a symbol of a cyclist onto the road in front of the rider. Combining one of these with Lumigrids might just provide the ultimate cycling safety kit – that's if you're OK with looking like something out of Tron.

Lumigrids was created by a team of researchers from the Sichuan University in China, and has been awarded the Red Dot Design Award for 2012. There's no word yet on whether or not the device will be produced commercially.

Source: Red Dot Awards

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21 comments
sk8dad
The human eyes are excellent at detecting edges by contrast. When you illuminate the road with contrasty grid lines, it will most likely confuse the rider when the feature size of the road imperfection is less than the size of each grid (see aliasing in signal processing) or when the feature is nearly perpendicular to the line of travel. The low resolution of the grid spacing essentially causes a mental pixelation of the road which is opposite of what you want. The checkered after image could also hinder vision further. Does it really matter if a rider can tell if a surface feature is a ditch or a curb? Wouldn't common sense tell you to treat all such obstacles the same? Seems to me there is no added functional benefit that cannot be sufficiently solved with a reasonably bright (cheap and ubiquitous) lamp. ...or am I missing the point which this concept serves...to advertize one's degree of hipness?
Dekarate
I think its a great solution. I have an eye disease that limits vision to one eye. The result is lack of depth perception. This makes it even harder to visualize surfaces at night as shadows are no longer a viable aide in helping discern topology changes. The grid does this naturally. It would also probably help on mini golf courses too!
Ju_LC
On my understanding, if the device is projecting a square grid and we get what is presented in the pictures, this device must be placed at the vertical of the grid. Am I wrong?.... Of course if it is not a basic projector but a device composed of a scanning device and a projector which adapt the shape of the light to the surface then, ok, that could work. But the device looks really small for this task. If you are planing to buy this device, then buy a fishing rod to make it working properly!
Tom Hovan
My concerns include projecting it far enough down the road to be useful at real cycling speeds, and the pattern becoming overly distracting, preventing detection of the real road surface beneath. The grid pattern distortion might render some modest surface roughness the same as a patch of gravel, however with the require reaction by the cyclist not the same for each case. In short, it probably should only be developed in order to give some amount of additional information regarding the the road surface, and cannot substitute for a good headlight and ye olde human eye. If it complements human vision, it's good. If it dominates it, then it will do more harm than good....in my opinion.
Nairda
Also glossing over the fact that humans don't have spiderman like reflexes.
If the grid is 2-3 m in front of you and you are travelling more then 10km/hr, then there is buckley's chance of avoiding the gaping maw in the road.
Place a range finder with a small speaker on your helmet that beeps if there is a rapid change in depression. Use an accelerometer to detect head movement preventing unnecessary beeping.
Slowburn
A video of it working would be nice.
re; Ju_LC
This works because you are looking at the grid at a different angle than it is being projected at.
re; sk8dad
This uses less power than a headlight that that provides the same level of clarity and is therefor lighter. I will ride right over a "bottomless" 2 inch wide gap but will try to avoid running over a 2x2 inch bump.
Bill Bennett
I prefer my 2000 lumen light the TM11, light is sweet from nitecore, you can see the bad stuff before you run into it
Ju_LC
Re: Slowburn I am not saying that it cannot work. I am saying that this device cannot give the result presented on the pictures. We are used to see people lying to sell product but I am used to say something when I see something wrong.
Two things: - These pictures are fake, Slowburn, you would easily agree. Or explain me why in the 3rd picture, the fourth horizontal line starting from the bottom is broken despite that the difference between the projection angle and the view angle is zero. - Why don’t they present the real view then? A computer and a projector is enough to simulate a more realistic case. Does it work well with the reall configuration? Is the angle sufficient to be effective? Even at the bottom of the grid? Is the real grid projection easy to be processed by a human brain as it is in the case when the beam comes from the ceiling (in these pictures)?
There was a reason for releasing these fake pictures…? And the answer is probably in one of these previous questions therefore I would not be too enthusiastic about this product! But maybe I am wrong…
Richard Corso
Having cycled day and night for many years - this product is a death trap. As a cyclist you need to be fully aware of what's around you at all times. Having to focus your attention to a small grid a few metres ahead of you bike - means that you miss the 30 tonne truck heading straight for you. A good bright bicycle light, a bright head worn light and suitable bright reflective clothing should ensure you have better visibility and other are aware of your presence on the road. "Monkey lights" on the wheel spokes also improved street presence.
Larry English
you would also need a headlight
this thing would not do anything to warn you about gravel, sand, water, oil, ice
not to mention brick walls or a pedestrian in black
holes and bumps - MAYBE
but there are a lot of other nighttime hazards
wle