Urban Transport

Prototype Torch bicycle helmet is like a lighthouse for your head

Prototype Torch bicycle helmet...
The Torch T1 is a prototype bicycle helmet, that incorporates luminous front and rear panels
The Torch T1 is a prototype bicycle helmet, that incorporates luminous front and rear panels
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The T1 runs on two rechargeable CR2 batteries
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The T1 runs on two rechargeable CR2 batteries
The planned production version of the T1 will have an expanded polystyrene body, covered by a thin polycarbonate shell
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The planned production version of the T1 will have an expanded polystyrene body, covered by a thin polycarbonate shell
The T1's lenses help disperse the light, and protect the bulbs from water and debris
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The T1's lenses help disperse the light, and protect the bulbs from water and debris
The Torch T1 is a prototype bicycle helmet, that incorporates luminous front and rear panels
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The Torch T1 is a prototype bicycle helmet, that incorporates luminous front and rear panels

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 T1 runs on two rechargeable CR2 batteries
The T1 runs on two rechargeable CR2 batteries

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.

Source: Kickstarter via Bicycle Design

7 comments
Sam Sim
why nobody thinks so such easy solution before? Perfect design, ingenious product.
toolman65
Great idea, but with such small air vents, that is going to be one hot helmet.
Jeff Bequette
Still Snell and Ansi Certified?
Michael Crumpton
I would think that making the lamps some kind of attachment for an existing helmet would decrease costs as well making a broader user base.
Nathan Wills
Hi Michaelc, great comment. We looked into doing this, the problem is that to get the largest lit surface from each LED, they are placed 1" away from the lens. This allows the light to spread out a bit before hitting the lens. Because of this we aren't able to make an add on part that would still sit flush with the helmet surface. Maybe as new materials are developed we will eventually find a way to do this. Thanks, Nathan Wills - Torch
The Hoff
I don't like the polkadot look. I know your trying to get as much light from your LED as possible but sometimes you have to give some up for a cooler look. Technically this is a good idea to put the light higher, good luck.
Nathan Wills
Hoff, thanks for the comments. The production model will use lenses that diffuse the light much better than our prototype. Unfortunately we were unable to use that plastic for our prototype, but it should be much more even in the real product. Nathan Wills