Dynamic bicycle headlight uses the open road as a display

dynamic-bike-headlight

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?

33 thoughts on “Dynamic bicycle headlight uses the open road as a display

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

          1. Well, when I think of heads up I think more of the phrase where something/someone is alerting you and not so much the literal sense of it being above your head. :)

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

    1. Ha! It’s hard to steer when you’ve got a DSLR mounted to you bike right where your torso ought to be!

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

    1. Hi Dreier! Sorry, I’ve been intending to do a full write up with detailed photos and more complete video, but I’m in a mad rush to get things in order for SXSW right now. Anyway, the projector is an Optoma PK320.

  6. 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”

    1. 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?

  7. 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.

    1. No way to hook up the hall sensor? How about connecting it to the mic pins in the headphone jack? That’d do the job wouldn’t it?

  8. 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.

    1. 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

  9. 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!…

    1. “great idea but could be done cheaper”

      Again, concept. This is not a final unit ready for mass production.

      Make one cheaper, post about it, and submit it to HAD.

  10. 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?

  11. 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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