Turn Signals On Your Head

Several weeks ago, I was in Culver City L.A., and happened to find a hackerspace nearby. It was a pleasant coincidence that the night I chose to randomly show up, was their public meeting which focused more on projects people were doing. The place was packed, I was barely able to squeeze in the door and actually stood outside for part of the meeting, just listening to people talk about what they’re making.

One of the projects I did get to see was this bike helmet built by [Naim]. At first I was amused at the idea, but the idea of putting lights and an accelerometer on a helmet wasn’t that groundbreaking. But as [Naim] kept talking, he caught my attention. For one thing, the one he was showing at the hackerspace seemed to have some built in correction for natural head movement. In this video he does look around a bit without false positives. At the hackerspace he explained the way he monitors the motion to avoid natural movements causing the lights to initialize.

The part I was really interested in was his power. He spent tons of time reducing the power consumption on the base arduino. I believe the number he used was 10 years of standby without causing the battery to vent or die. If you pick up the helmet at any point during that time period, it automatically turns itself on based on the accelerometer’s motion. While the bike helmet itself was a fairly cute idea, I was really trying to get him to send me the information on how he’s saving power. I believe he had to cut the traces to the arduino’s native power management. Hopefully we’ll still hear from him on the details.

8 thoughts on “Turn Signals On Your Head

    1. The less time spent with one hand off your handle bars, the less room for bad things.
      Just a simple fact of riding a bike, before anybody takes away from this what is not here.

      1. Simple facts? Here you go: Roughly half of all cyclists here don’t even have proper lighting and a set of reflectors to begin with. Many of them ride a bike as if road rules were not laws but only suggestions that would not apply to them. I see them wearing headphones, and talking on their mobiles, and if you’re lucky they got one hand on the handle bars.

        I do ride a bike. And on more than one occasion a day I find myself confronted by idiotic behaviour of fellow cyclists that makes me wonder why I’m not regularly seeing bloody piles of bodies.

        But, please, I also drive a car, and the last thing I can use when passing a bike at night is for something — anything — to start blinking red, green, and yellow. Driving a car is complicated and largely works on motor memory. By making me guess what you are trying to tell me with your christmas lights you’re putting yourself in danger. If you want higher visibility get covered in reflective tape but don’t start blinking everytime you nod your head.

  1. Where I think this actually needs to be used is at buffets and the supermarket. There are some really big people that should not only beep when they back up… they could do with some turn signals. Anything to give the rest of us a little more warning before 400 lbs suddenly changes direction heading for a box of Cheez-its or the new tray of fried chicken! In any other location, if 300-400 pound “things” were randomly moving around, there would be an outcry and safety measures would be put in place. Just because those “things” are people and you plopped them into scooters (http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/25859_379026489734_4834451_n.jpg) that suddenly seems cruel.

  2. Just a note, using blue lights may get you in a bit of trouble with the fuzz. I’ve heard of motorcycles and cars with this, not sure about a bicycle, but…. you might want to check in to that.

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