As devices become smaller, faster and smarter, incorporating intelligent and connected systems into our technology has never been easier. For Philip McAleese, this was exactly what he needed to bring his bike lights to the market.
This is because the See.Sense ICON is anything but an ordinary set of bike lights. Powered by twin CREE LED’s, the lights are smart, pairing front and back, allowing the user to control both lights with the touch of a single button, and syncing with a smartphone to pack an arsenal of safety tools into the cyclists kit bag.
The journey towards See.Sense began when co-founder and CEO, Philip, was working in corporate technology in Singapore. With a hectic work schedule, there was little time in the day to fit in exercise, and like many of us, Philip turned to commuting by bike to solve his dilemma. Several near misses and one serious accident later however, Philip had come across another problem.
Tired of drivers claiming not to have seen cyclists, Philip set about designing the smart bike lights, increasing the visibility bicycles on busy, congested roads, even in broad daylight. Once fitted to the bike, the lights turn on automatically when they detect motion, and will turn off again after three minutes of inactivity. They will then flash brighter and stronger at roundabouts, road junctions and in response to approaching headlights, increasing the visibility of the cyclist in vulnerable locations.
The smartphone connection allows users to check the battery level, adjust brightness, and remotely set the run time of the lights. It also enables easy download of the latest software updates, and can send alerts directly to a mobile when their batteries are running low.
A theft alarm works over a range of 100m via Bluetooth connection, instantly alerting owners of any tampering with their bicycle, while an emergency alert is sent via SMS to a specified contact in the event of crash detection.
Jonathan Narbett, who has been using the smart lights on his commute for the last month said: “I’ve been incredibly impressed by the See.Sense lights. They work straight out of the box – they pair easily with the downloadable app which lets you amend flash patterns, check charge status and control the lights. Most importantly, they’re incredibly visible, both front on (fairly common with decent bike lights) and from the side (regrettably something few manufacturers pay enough attention to) and they manage this without being off putting to on-coming traffic. They hold their charge well too – I’ve charged mine once over the month and they’re still at over 30% charge (verified by the app!).”
In addition to providing cyclists with fully controllable visibility, the compact bundles of technology hold a huge potential for the cities of the future. Attached to free roaming bicycles, the lights can act as a sensor platform to collect city wide data on the quality of road surfaces, monitor congestion, and even keep track of pollution levels. Alongside informing cyclists of the safest routes to take, the information could also be fed back to city planners to guide future infrastructure development.
So promising is the technology, it last month scooped See.Sense the top, £15,000 prize at the BT Infinity Lab SME Awards 2016: Connected Cities, in collaboration with the Cabinet Office, for showing the greatest potential to make a difference to the cities of the future.