66% or better

Brake Light Backpack overpowered with LED pixels

led-motorcycle-backpack

Here’s another Flora Arduino based project from [Becky Stern]. It’s a backpack with brake lights and turn signals for use when motorcycling, but it should work just as well for bicyclists. From this view the project looks pretty normal, but things get downright crazy when she decided to use the WS2801 pixels for the LEDs. Sure they take all the work out of driving an array of LEDs, and they offer full color and dimming levels. But when you see the bulk of cabling and PCBs this adds to the project (shown in the video after the break) we think you’ll agree that this was an interesting choice.

That issue aside the project is a lot of fun. The system doesn’t patch into the motorcycle’s electronics. Instead, it uses an accelerometer to detect when the brakes are applied and light the LEDs according. The turn signals are switched with an RF remote control that can be mounted on the handlebars.

Anyone looking to hack outerwear with electronics can learn form the fabrication techniques used here. [Becky] details how to make holes in the bag and sew parts to them, as well as using Sugru to waterproof vulnerable components.

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Motorcycle lighting upgrade ensures other drivers know you’re there

led-brake-lights

[Pete Mills] recently bought himself a motorcycle, and as people are known to do, they start trying to scare him with gruesome stories of cycling accidents once they hear about his purchase. While he tries to shrug them off as people simply not minding their own business, something must have resonated with him, because he started tinkering with the bike’s taillight in order to ensure he was always seen by other drivers.

He swapped out his motorcycle’s incandescent taillight for a smart LED-based lamp that he constructed using perfboard. Not only does his new brake light feature ultra bright LEDs, but the onboard ATtiny85 rapidly flashes the lights each time he hits the brakes, making his presence impossible to miss. Before everyone starts with the claims of, “Flashing red lights are illegal!”, let’s all take a deep breath and read on.

We’ve seen these sorts of lights on the back of motorcycles for years, though being a careful guy, [Pete] wrote to the state of Michigan in order to ensure that his modifications won’t get him pulled over. He has yet to hear back, but in the meantime, he merely needs to start the bike with the brakes applied to trigger the ATtiny85 to run the lights in “normal mode.”

Continue reading to see a short demo video of his brake light mod in action.

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LED strip and uC add some flash to your tail lights

[Dave] spiced up his new 2012 Nissan Juke with a little tail-light amendment. You can see that outlining the rim of the light enclosure is a series of dots. This is an LED strip that he added to augment the brake lights. It’s glued in place, and features side emitting LEDs so that the light will be focused behind the car.

To control the strip he’s using an ATtiny85 microcontroller. It’s the chip on the right, and an optoisolator next to it protects it from the 12V vehicle power which drives the strip (via a MOSFET), and acts as a trigger when the brake pedal is pressed. He wrote a few effects into the firmware. When the lights are turned on, the strip fades up to 75% over about eight seconds. When the brake pedal is pressed they go to 100%. Check out the video after the break (it seems a little weird to us, as the video runs 18 seconds but the audio keeps going… YMMV).

We’ve seen a couple of tail light concepts that flash the brake lights when you stomp on the pedal. Unfortunately the Juke (and all other cars as far as we know) don’t have functionality built-in to sense when you’ve really given the brake a sudden jolt. It makes us wonder if this info could be gleaned from the CANbus? [Read more...]