Dynamic bicycle headlight uses the open road as a display


This thing is so cool it almost looks fake. But [Matt Richardson] isn’t a hoaxster. He actually built what might be called a heads-down display for your bicycle. He refers to it as a headlight because it borrows a similar function. It mounts on the handlebars and shoots light off the front of the bike. But it’s more than just a battery and a bulb, this uses a pico-projector to give that light some meaning. In the video after the break he shows it off on the streets of NYC.

So far he’s only displaying information that has to do with the speed of travel, but the proof is there just waiting for a brilliant new use. Feeding the projector is a Raspberry Pi board. For this prototype [Matt] mounted it, along with the portable cellphone charger which plays the role of the power source, on a hunk of hardboard strapped inside the bike frame.

If you’re thinking of doing this one yourself beware of the BOM price tag. That projector he’s using runs upwards of $400. We wonder if you could hack together a rudimentary replacement with an old cellphone screen and this diy film projector?


  1. Clem says:

    This could be the beginning of a great HUD. Speed + Maps (esp. for NYC; my hometown) + Notifications.
    Anyways, nice project guys

  2. cwbh10 says:

    I think is a an excellent project and great starting point for bike HUDs. I’m pretty sure they’ve been done before but the lightweight hardware makes this rather appealing. Coming from NYC, I definitely think that this as some serious potential. Perhaps turning this into a full fledged open source bike HUD project with features like Speed, Maps/Directions, and Notifications.

    Anyways, nice job guys

  3. Frank says:

    Looks pretty cool, but it doesn’t look anywhere close to replacing a headlight… way to narrow beam. Cool as a standalone “hud” though.

  4. Robot says:

    Nice project. I kind of want one. . .

    But dude, hold your line.

  5. korhojoa says:

    I kind of want to do this with a beagleboard and 3m mpro I have. Adding the navigation features someone mentioned would be cool. Perhaps a map overlay?

  6. Dreier Carr says:

    Where did you find information on the BOM? I haven’t been able to find any more information or write ups from Matt other than the 2 videos on youtube. I never heard him specify which projector he was using in the videos.

  7. larry says:

    be cool to add a leap motion when it comes out to control the gps in the making :)

  8. vonskippy says:

    And why do you need to know your speed on a bike?

    “look at me, I’m going 22 kph as the line of cars behind you honk their asses off for you to get out of the way”

    • colecoman1982 says:

      Because it’s a proof-of-concept and you obviously lack the imagination to see any other uses for the hack (GPS maps, news, etc.)? Why are you at this site again?

  9. dfdas says:

    would have my sms scrolling along

  10. dru says:

    I could totally see swapping out the RasPi for an android smartphone. Many of them come with HDMI out these days.
    + GPS, maps, compass built in
    + built-in battery
    – no way to hook up the hall sensor (without a ioio board anyway)

    Still needs an inexpensive projector though, and still only works at night. NYC is probably one of the few places in the world where night biking is only slightly more dangerous than day biking.

  11. ausserirdischegesund says:

    Cool project, but really scary cycling. You should not ride that close to parked cars, as you will sooner or later be “doored”. Also you should just ride a straight line when there is a gap in the parked cars (not enter the gaps) as cars will run over you, when you come back out of the empty parking space.

    • Eirinn says:

      THIS also look up when cycling! You’ll be a driver’s nightmare. I’m from Denmark where we have a really strong cycling culture and I must say: please do not use this for everyday commute :S

  12. Ren says:

    Not just speed, but display arrows (Left turn, right turn) from a GPS route.
    Well, Officer, my bike told me to turn right into this doorway!…

  13. Remko Janse says:

    great idea but could be done cheaper

  14. Andrew says:

    What sort of program is he using for this visualization? I know the Pi isn’t able to run Processing very smoothly, so what is an efficient way to render fast moving information displays like this?

  15. J. D. says:


  16. Tom says:

    A cool idea in theory however in practice it is worth considering that a car would likely be too focussed on trying to work out what is being projected on the road instead of focussing on not hitting the bike.

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