Laserlight Kickstarter project scores major deal with London’s cycle-hire scheme

From hopeful Kickstarter project to thousands of bikes in London’s cycle-hire scheme, it’s been quite a journey for Blaze, the startup that created the safety-focused Laserlight.

This week it learned that following a successful trial of its unique $200 light, all 12,500 bicycles used by the UK capital’s bike-sharing scheme will be fitted with the device in early 2016.

Announced by Santander, which sponsors the scheme, the special light will help to improve cyclists’ safety by making them more visible as they ride along the capital’s roads at night.

The Laserlight gives motorists early warning of a cyclist’s presence by projecting the image of a bike onto the road, about six meters ahead of the rider. It also reduces the chance of a cyclist being missed by a pedestrian who’s about to cross the street, while its super-bright LEDs mean it can also act as a regular front light.

The device will be integrated into the London hire bikes and powered by an internal dynamo system. A sensor will ensure that the Laserlight only comes on when the bike is moving and in darkness.

BLAZE, laserlight, bikelight,

The innovative product was the brainchild of Blaze CEO Emily Brooke. After switching from a physics course at Oxford University to one in design in Brighton, Brooke worked on the Laserlight for her final-year project.

More than 800 backers pledged £55,000 ($82,000) toward the end of 2012, and now the eight-person startup is fighting to keep up with demand from bike enthusiasts across 60 countries.

Brooke offers an interesting account of the work it took to make the London bike deal a reality, covering everything from the very first phone call from the scheme’s operator, to the three months of intensive research into the light’s effectiveness, to the creation of a glitzy Star Wars-themed marketing campaign featuring three UK sports stars dressed up as Storm Troopers (sort of) – you can see the launch ad above.

Even Star Wars Ep. VII director JJ Abrams had some input, a fact Brooke is clearly yet to get her head around. “I’m sorry, what? JJ Abrams is involved in the launch video to announce Blaze Laserlights in the cycle hire bikes in London? Yep. Bonkers,” the CEO writes.

Brooke is understandably delighted with the deal, noting in her post that the “corporate giants” that made the deal possible “displayed huge amounts of innovation and dynamism to work with such a small startup.”

The post offers some fascinating insight into how an idea for a single piece of original tech can grow into something incredible. Though of course, Brooke and her team are hoping that this is just the beginning.

Movies & TV

Here are all the TV shows and movies we expect to see at Apple’s March 25 event

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing in recent years, so will the March 25 event finally reveal when — and where — we will be able to see some of these TV shows and movies?
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Outdoors

Trek’s new bike helmet is 48 times safer than the one you’re wearing

Trek and Bontrager have taken the wraps off of a new cycling helmet that uses WaveCel technology to dramatically reduce head injuries by dispersing the impact in a way that is 48 times safer than current helmets.
Emerging Tech

Scientists have a way to turn off alcoholism: Blasting the brain with lasers

Researchers from Scripps Research have demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats by targeting a part of the brain using lasers. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

China has cloned its best police dog. Now it wants to mass-produce more

Scientists in China have cloned the Sherlock Holmes of police sniffer dogs, with possible plans to mass produce it in the future. Here's why its creators think that's a great idea.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.
Emerging Tech

A 3D printer the size of a small barn will produce entire homes in Saudi Arabia

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can comfortably fit on the side of your desk… well, Danish company Cobod International’s enormous new 3D house printer probably isn’t for you.
Deals

Need a ride? Amazon is slashing prices on popular electric scooters

If you’re not much of a cyclist or if you’re looking for a lazier way to zip about town, an electric scooter should be right up your alley. Two of our favorites, the foldable Glion Dolly and the eco-friendly Razor scooter, are on sale…
Emerging Tech

Unexpected particle plumes discovered jetting out of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx craft traveled to asteroid Bennu last year and won't return until 2023. But the mission is already throwing up unexpected findings, like plumes of particles which are being ejected from the surface of the asteroid.
Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Petzl to Tikkid, here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

A hive of activity: Using honeybees to measure urban pollution

According to a new study from Vancouver, bees could help us understand urban pollution. Scientists have found an innovative way to measure the level of source of pollution in urban environments: by analyzing honey.