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Aster Backpack Aims to Improve Cycling Safety At Night

Cycling on the road may seem a daunting prospect for casual bikers who merely use their bike to get around on campus, but for others, biking among traffic is a faster and cleaner means of transportation. Given that bikes do not come with the circuitry or complexity necessary to give turn signals, bikers must rely on their arms to signal their path for those behind them. However, this is a dangerous prospect on dark nights.

Current accessories for nighttime bicycle safety include reflective strips on the bike and fluorescent clothes. Unfortunately, these additions only improve visibility, and signaling is still up to the rider. However, Indian entrepreneur Gandharv Bakshi has developed a new approach to bicycle turning and signaling. His product, the Aster backpack, in partnership with Arrow Electronics, promotes itself as the “world’s safest cycling backpack.”

The concept behind its design is a relatively simple idea. The backpack has built in accelerometers and lights such that when the bicycle begins to turn on the road, the backpack will automatically flash a turn signal in the same manner as a car, helping alert drivers behind the cyclist. The backpack also features automatic brake lights in the same spirit, and front lights to improve visibility for oncoming traffic. The companion app, called Lumos Aster, connects with the backpack via smartphone and can change light settings for different international traffic laws.

The whole design runs on a 4000 mAh rechargeable battery, touted to run 10 – 15 hours under normal commuting conditions. Other accessories include a medical information tab in case of accidents, a handlebar attachment with anti-theft motion sensing features, and a rain cover.

The Lumos line of backpacks have already made it onto Amazon – the cyclist safety model’s predecessor is called the Lumos unPlug, which charges a battery using its mounted solar panel by day, allowing for other devices to be connected and recharged.

This cyclist-geared model has been 104% funded on Indiegogo as of May 2016, and currently sells for about $110, with a delivery date of January 2017.

When asked about the usefulness of the Lumos for cyclists on campus, freshman Moises Melesio commented that its basic turn signal features would “really improve safety, especially at night.” Particularly for college campuses where bike theft is prevalent, Melesio noted that the anti–theft features for the handlebar attachment could “save a lot of trouble”.

The cost for these backpacks, however, seemed a more negative aspect of the product. Moises estimated that “if the price were down to $70 or $80, it’d be a better deal”.

You can find more information about the Lumos cyclist backpack, and future products in its line, at iwearlumos.com

(Image Courtesy of HiConsumption)

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