Los Angeles industrial designer Nathan Wills is an avid cyclist, but he has a gripe about most traditional bike lights – in order for them to really be noticed at night, they have to be seen head-on. He decided to create head and tail lights that were highly visible from the sides as well. While he was at it, he also positioned them higher than regular bike-mounted lights, and made them much more difficult to steal. The result is his prototype Torch T1 – a bike helmet with built-in luminous panels.

The T1 features white LED bulbs in the front and red ones in the back, which are covered by plastic lenses. These lenses help to more evenly disperse the bulbs’ light, so it can be seen from a wider viewing angle – they also serve to protect the lights from water and road debris.

Power is provided by two rechargeable CR2 batteries, which should provide over five hours of run time in non-flashing mode. If one of the several flashing modes is used, they should last considerably longer.

The planned production version of the T1 will have an expanded polystyrene body, covered by a thin polycarbonate shell. It will come in two sizes and three colors, with a dial adjuster to customize the fit for each user. The prototype weighs 13 ounces (368.5 grams), which should be about the weight of the commercial model.

Wills and a business partner are presently raising production funds for the T1 on Kickstarter. A pledge of at least US$80 will get you one, if the funding goal is met and production commences.

The prototype can be seen in use in the pitch video below.

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