In 2009, US designers created LightLane, a rolling projection of a green bike lane thrown by a bike-mounted laser. Last year BikeBiz.com reported on a similar idea by a UK design student and this product is now nearly a commercial certainty after just four days on the crowd-funding website, Kickstarter. The pledge total is over the half way mark and with 24 days still to do, Blaze looks a dead cert for getting the funding requested.
Designer Emily Brooke created Blaze while at the University of Brighton. She graduated last year. Her product projects a laser image of a bicycle from handlebars onto the road ahead. It could alert drivers to the fact a cyclist is close to them.
She won an entrepreneurial scholarship at Babson College, Massachusetts, after being nominated by Beepurple, the University of Brighton’s enterprise network. She was also selected as an inaugural member of Entrepreneur First, an accelerator programme encouraging graduates to start a business. She worked with Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton & Hove Bus Company, road safety experts and driving psychologists to further develop Blaze.
Her course leader Richard Morris, principal lecturer in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, said: “Product design students are very good at generating creative ideas aimed at solving difficult problems as part of their final year. It is a real pleasure to see the university working at its best to help them do this, and providing support across a range of subject areas such as engineering, design and business to turn these ideas into fully developed products.
“It is even more satisfying then to see these ideas materialise into the kind of innovative commercial products that help to stimulate the economy. We often see this happening with the companies we work with but are delighted to see students running with their ideas to develop their own businesses.
Blaze has a magnetic sensor so it only works when on the bike mount. Blaze also works as torch.