Imagine riding your bike home from work one winter night. No moon, few streetlights, and cars and pedestrians everywhere. This is the regular experience for thousands of commuters worldwide. The Lumos Aster backpack with built-in lights, is designed to make bike riders safer in dark conditions.
The Aster is all about making the wearer stand out, while still looking sleek. It has integrated automatic brake lights that detect deceleration, as well as profile lights on the side panels and front lights — that can be seen in the rear-view mirror of parked cars whose drivers may be about to open their doors — on the shoulder straps. Rear turn signals are controlled by its Sidekick, a Bluetooth remote that mounts on the handlebars.
The Aster’s creator, Gandharv Bakshi told Digital Trends he wants to improve cycling safety and the way it’s viewed by the public. He stated two main goals: “One, improve cycling safety by improving the visual communication with motorists, and two, improve the perception of cycling as a safe option for commutes.”
Lumos plan is to make bikers stand out as much as cars do. “The intention is to bring the same level of communication in terms of indicator’s, brake lights, profile lights (the two side lights you’ll see at the two corners of a car) and ‘door-me-not’ front lights,” Bakshi said, offering a clever name for the strap lights positioned to alert parked drivers and keep them from opening a vehicle door into a rider’s path.
“We also want to work on post-accident communication — which is why there is a very visible emergency slot on Aster containing emergency contact info,” Bakshi said. “Additionally, we are also building in crash-detection (in the second version).”
There are a couple upshots to having all this tech built into a bag instead of into lights on the bike itself. First, there’s no need to worry about lights getting stolen while parked, and no need to swap them between bikes. It’s an all-in-one setup that goes where you go.
The Aster’s 4,000mAh built-in battery can last about 15 hours, and can be charged via USB. The Lumos app controls the bag’s light settings, or it can be turned on using the Sidekick. Another positive: the Sidekick and app work together as a security system. If the bike is moved for more than five seconds once locked, the Sidekick’s accelerometer activates an alarm, drawing attention to the bike and anyone messing with it.
The bag itself is well-designed even without the electronics. It has a built-in zippered bottle pockets, a rain cover, helmet holder, whistle buckle, and U-lock holder loops. More importantly, unlike most backpacks, it unzips to lie completely flat. When closed its TPU-coated exterior is water resistant, including the zippers, so it’s easy to clean you and you only need the rain cover when it really pours.
Lumos’ Aster comes in two sizes, 18L or 24L, and colors, Avatar Blue or Dark Night (you get added points for the references). The 24L will hold a 15.6-inch laptop, while the 18L has room for a 14-incher. Smaller elastic and zippered pockets within the bag can hold things like keys, a multi-tool, or your wallet. Lumos’ Aster is now In Demand on Indiegogo.