On using the most visible part of a commuter for safety - his/her backpack!



Gandharv

New Member
Sep 16, 2015
16
4
3
Hey,
The most visible part of any commuter is his/her backpack. Hence, we decided to use the backpack as a means to improving cycling safety. The result is Aster - the world's safest commute backpack and is live on Indiegogo now. You can check it out here . Am uploading a few photos, instead of being very descriptive here:

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Do tell me what you think of it! also, if you have any suggestions for how else can safety be improved, do tell me!

Thanks!
Gandharv
 

cycle93

Active Member
Oct 10, 2015
145
38
18
Wow! Looks really nice also practical.
I like how modern bicycle gear is not just easy to use and has a lot of practical, logical side to it but stepped up the style game for sure. I like these kind of backpacks for daily use, and it is also helping people to see you - so it is plus.
 

Gandharv

New Member
Sep 16, 2015
16
4
3
Thanks cycle93! Do help us spread the word - do share it with your circles! Thanks again for the encouragement.
 

Okaviator

New Member
Feb 3, 2016
31
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24
Wow! I'll definitely have to look into buying one of these. Since I live in a big city, this will definitely help me reduce the chances of getting hit.
 
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Damien Lee

Well-Known Member
May 16, 2015
518
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That backpack looks pretty cool, it wouldn't seem out of place in one of the Tron films. I doubt there's anyone on the road that wouldn't notice someone wearing that backpack. The neon lights seem very bright, which I'm sure increase the safety aspect.
 
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Corzhens

Well-Known Member
May 26, 2015
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My main concern for night riding is the rear light which serves as the main protection against vehicles behind me. Of course, the headlight is also a must for me to see where I am going but the rear light is for the benefit of those behind me particularly those fast vehicles. In the yonder days, so many biking accidents occurred during the night due to lack of safety measures. It is only in the last decade when those rear lights were indtroduced here.
 

Gandharv

New Member
Sep 16, 2015
16
4
3
That backpack looks pretty cool, it wouldn't seem out of place in one of the Tron films. I doubt there's anyone on the road that wouldn't notice someone wearing that backpack. The neon lights seem very bright, which I'm sure increase the safety aspect.

Thanks Damien! True - but since it is a commute backpack, we have also taken care to make sure that it "fits in" when the lights are off. All the lights hide behind a transparent layer that looks just like black fabric when the lights are off. So, hopefully it works both ways - do give us any suggestions of course. For a product maker, a product is always work in progress!
 

Gandharv

New Member
Sep 16, 2015
16
4
3
My main concern for night riding is the rear light which serves as the main protection against vehicles behind me. Of course, the headlight is also a must for me to see where I am going but the rear light is for the benefit of those behind me particularly those fast vehicles. In the yonder days, so many biking accidents occurred during the night due to lack of safety measures. It is only in the last decade when those rear lights were indtroduced here.

True. In fact, in fact, in earlier times (and even now in many part of Europe), lights were integrated with bikes itself through a dynamo system. I personally don't use them - but overall, the new cycles dont come with those systems in-built (for a good reason, of course). In fact, research shows that having 2 lights - one static and one blinking works better than having just a single light too (look at snow-blowers on how they ensure visibility). Which is why, before creating the Aster, I would always have a light on the frame and one on the Helmet.
 
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Corzhens

Well-Known Member
May 26, 2015
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True. In fact, in fact, in earlier times (and even now in many part of Europe), lights were integrated with bikes itself through a dynamo system. I personally don't use them - but overall, the new cycles dont come with those systems in-built (for a good reason, of course). In fact, research shows that having 2 lights - one static and one blinking works better than having just a single light too (look at snow-blowers on how they ensure visibility). Which is why, before creating the Aster, I would always have a light on the frame and one on the Helmet.

I think that is the perfect rear light - one stationary and one blinking. I remember last Christmas season when I saw a biker with a line of LED lights at his back so he looked like a Christmas tree with lights. But in fairness to the biker, he is not only visible but also attracting attention with his novelty of lights. Since night riding is getting common here, I guess there should be a campaign for the awareness of night light for safety of the riders.
 

DancingLady

Member
Mar 9, 2015
226
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That looks amazing, but what is the price going to be?

A lot of people are cyclists because they are poor and can't afford expensive things, especially considering that no matter how well a backpack is made, it won't last THAT long as normal backpack use is pretty rough with getting repeatedly picked up and set down on multiple surfaces all day, and carrying heavy and irregular shaped items.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,711
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NE Indiana
Spoiler alert...gee I hate to spoil the party but the photos taken to demonstrate the effectiveness of the light at night is way overexposed making the light to appear much brighter than it would in real life. 16 standard LED's are actually quite dim at night or with car headlights on them which would simply wash out the LED light altogether.

However I do like the concept, I think you could make it better by upping the LED's to ones that put out twice as much lumens, which would make your battery probably go from 35 hours to roughly 17 hours which is actually ok since most nights don't last 17 hours; or you could upgrade the battery to 6000mah and get the brighter light to run longer, and since the battery is in a backpack the weight shouldn't be an issue.
 

Gandharv

New Member
Sep 16, 2015
16
4
3
That looks amazing, but what is the price going to be?

A lot of people are cyclists because they are poor and can't afford expensive things, especially considering that no matter how well a backpack is made, it won't last THAT long as normal backpack use is pretty rough with getting repeatedly picked up and set down on multiple surfaces all day, and carrying heavy and irregular shaped items.

Hi DancingLady,
The price on Indiegogo right now is USD 99. I know the durability of such a solution might be a concern. That is solved partially through design and the usage of flexible Electronic components. In fact, There is a detailed testing process that involves dropping objects of different sizes and shapes on the backpack to check if the lights get destroyed. That is why I decided to add in a 3-year warranty on all components. Can see your point though.

Thanks!
Gandharv
 

SkerleeWerg

Member
Feb 20, 2016
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Woah that's badass, how does it deal with the rain? It says water resistant but I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but I'm definitely interested in buying one.
 

Gandharv

New Member
Sep 16, 2015
16
4
3
Spoiler alert...gee I hate to spoil the party but the photos taken to demonstrate the effectiveness of the light at night is way overexposed making the light to appear much brighter than it would in real life. 16 standard LED's are actually quite dim at night or with car headlights on them which would simply wash out the LED light altogether.

However I do like the concept, I think you could make it better by upping the LED's to ones that put out twice as much lumens, which would make your battery probably go from 35 hours to roughly 17 hours which is actually ok since most nights don't last 17 hours; or you could upgrade the battery to 6000mah and get the brighter light to run longer, and since the battery is in a backpack the weight shouldn't be an issue.

Hi Froze,
Actually, these days LEDs are quite bright. In LED bulbs that are commercially available, each individual LEDs can go up to 3W too! We dont use 3W LEDs of course. The 16 LEDs built in the final backpack (not the prototype) give out 38 Lumens which is comparable to most high quality cycling rear lights. Of course, there is the added curved reflective area like this (in case car headhlights are pointed directly):
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You are right about the final battery life once the level is 38 Lumens - I expect a total commute time of about 10-15 hours since the brake lights and indicators also take up energy. Most commutes last about 1.5 hours each day (on the upper end) so the battery should last at least a week if not more. There is a battery alert also on your phone, when you are one day away from going out of charge. 6000mAh is always an option of course - I will look into that!

Thanks for your feedback!
Gandharv
 

Gandharv

New Member
Sep 16, 2015
16
4
3
Woah that's badass, how does it deal with the rain? It says water resistant but I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but I'm definitely interested in buying one.

Thanks SkeerleeWerg,
Technically, a backpack is water-proof only if you can go diving with it or dunk it in water. Hence, I cant call Aster "Water-proof" since it would be incorrect. The lights themselves are inside several layers and water woulnd't be able to get to them. Coming to backpack itself, zippers tend to be the vulnerable point in a bag. Aster has one S-shaped water-resistant zipper that opens the main compartment. What makes it water-resistant? The zipper-tape (fabric bits on either side of the zipper) are coated with a PU finish, and the zipper teeth are hidden on the underside of the zipper, giving you a relatively impenetrable zipper which looks like this.

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The lights area is transparent but is made of rain-cover material - That makes it easy to wipe but also prevent water from entering all together:

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Apologies for the crudely done Gif :) . Rest assured it will handle most rains quite well and in case you are caught in torrential rains, it also comes with a transparent rain-cover.

I hope that answers it. Thanks!
Gandharv
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,711
756
113
NE Indiana
Hi Froze,
Actually, these days LEDs are quite bright. In LED bulbs that are commercially available, each individual LEDs can go up to 3W too! We dont use 3W LEDs of course. The 16 LEDs built in the final backpack (not the prototype) give out 38 Lumens which is comparable to most high quality cycling rear lights. Of course, there is the added curved reflective area like this (in case car headhlights are pointed directly):
clmleuymav5sbvailn8h.png


You are right about the final battery life once the level is 38 Lumens - I expect a total commute time of about 10-15 hours since the brake lights and indicators also take up energy. Most commutes last about 1.5 hours each day (on the upper end) so the battery should last at least a week if not more. There is a battery alert also on your phone, when you are one day away from going out of charge. 6000mAh is always an option of course - I will look into that!

Thanks for your feedback!
Gandharv


Thanks for your reply but 38 lumens is not even close to comparison to high end bike lights, in fact 40 lumen range of lights today are the bottom of the lumen rating and price as well, most modern higher end tail lights in America are putting out a minimum of 60 lumens and the one I have puts out 70, while the better ones are going over 100. Do I think a person needs a 100 plus lumen tail light? not really, but if you're LED's can go to 3 watts and you have them set for 1/2 a watt then why not bump the output to 1 watt each? This would match the output of the Planet Bike Super Flash Turbo (now considered a low end light mind you), and it would significantly increase the lighting and attract buyers like flies to fresh dead meat. The cost should be very minimal to do that, then simply increase the battery to 6,000amh for longer run time at the higher setting which also shouldn't cost much either.

Just thoughts that's all.