See.Sense Icon bike lights know what's going on, and communicate with your phone
It was just a couple of years ago that we first heard about See.Sense bike lights. Using integrated sensors, they can determine when the rider is doing things such as going through a road junction, navigating a roundabout, or moving through lanes of traffic – they can also tell when the sun is going down, or when vehicle headlights are approaching. In all cases, the lights respond by shining brighter and blinking faster. Now, their inventors have added even more functions by creating a connected version of the lights, known as See.Sense Icon.
Like the original See.Sense, the Icon head- and tail lights each contain a reverse-biased LED for measuring ambient light levels, along with an accelerometer. A microcontroller uses output from these sensors to determine factors such as cadence, uphill or downhill orientation, acceleration or braking, cornering lean, and yaw. Using custom algorithms, it's able to match those readings up with ones that are associated with known risky traffic situations, so it can boost the rider's visibility accordingly.
What's new with the Icon is the fact that the lights can communicate with the user's smartphone via Bluetooth.
Among other things, this means that riders can wirelessly control flashing and brightness modes, check the lights' battery levels, set the lights to both turn on or off via the press of one of their power switches, or set them to automatically turn off after three minutes of the bike sitting still.
Additionally, the accompanying app will also alert users if their parked and unattended bike is being moved (such as it would be by a thief), plus it will send out a text alert to family and/or friends if it detects that a fall has occurred – riders are able to stop that message from being sent, in the case of false alarms.
The lights themselves each incorporate two Cree LEDs, putting out 95 lumens in the rear and 125 in front. There's also a more powerful Icon+ option, with lights rated at 160 and 210 lumens, respectively. Battery life depends greatly on the modes selected, although all four models are said to be good for at least 15 hours of use on one USB charge.
See.Sense is currently raising production funds for its new lights, on Kickstarter. A pledge of £94 (about US$142) will currently get you a set, if all goes according to plan.