Duration

4 months

Project type

Personal Project

Responsibilities

Initial concept

Initial Prototype

PCB housing 

Product photography

Project Partner

Seth Itow

LED integrated handlebars. Rechargeable, programmable, seamless.
 
The best part? It works.  

1/1

If you commute by bicycle in the city, chances are you've gotten your bike light stolen.

It's definitely happened to me. I thought, how can I keep thieves from stealing my lights without adding extra work for me?  
I taped LED strips to my handlebars and soldered them to a battery pack which was then scotch taped to my fender. As a cherry on top, I added a sandwich bag on top to protect from the Seattle rains. 
 
In the daytime, it was difficult to tell they were lights, and no one was going to steal these. 
 
At this point, my problem was solved and I thought that I would be done with the project. This was before I was in design school, so I wasn't necessarily trying to create a full product. 
 

The first prototype

People stopped me on the street to ask
where they could buy those lights. 

Creating custom PCBs

After hearing so many positive reactions, I decided to take this farther. I asked my friend Seth Itow, a mechanical engineering student at UW to help me make custom PCBs that we could fit inside a standard handlebar.
 
He created programmable and daisy chain-able boards.
 

Fitting the PCB in the handlebar

Once the PCB was assembled in the handlebar, it needed a way to maintain its position. To keep it aligned with the holes in the bar, I created a housing out of flexible filament that would press fit into the correct position. 
 

Powered by a lithium ion battery

Capabilities

8+ hrs battery life
 
Automatic on/off capabilities
 
Fully programmable RGBW LEDs
 

Challenges 

For this product to work in the real world, a few things would have to change about the design. 

1) The location of the battery 

Having the battery on the outer edge of the handlebar could pose a serious safety risk if the rider were to crash and hit their handlebar on the ground hard. 

2) Lenses on the LEDs 

Not necessary, but would help focus the light to be more effective on a path. 

3) Overall robustness

Waterproofing and vibration mainly. However, stress tests on the handlebars themselves would need to be done. 

If you are interested in taking this product further with me, feel free to reach out! 

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