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Arm Indicators

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by Iceniner, 10 Jan 2008.

  1. Iceniner

    Iceniner New Member

    A while back i stumbled upon the bicgnal bike indicators and thought they looked pretty interesting but decided after reading a fair amount about them that they might not be as effective as i had hoped.
    http://www.bicygnals.com/Bicygnals_products_Bicygnals 2.html

    Then i stumbled across safeturn lights (have these been discussed before on the forums?) http://safeturn.com/the_product.html

    So with some spare time and some xmas money from relatives (cheers!) i decided to make my own arm based ones to help be seen at night when turning.

    Its basically a strip of LED's down each arm independently battery powered from a 12v battery souce (the small A23 types) and its hidden in a battery case/pouch thats attached inside the arm warmer sleeve. All very light still and you dont really notice the battery pack.

    Its operated on and off by a touch sensitive switch i made from spare bits lying around, so that it only turns on when you press the button. One downfall is you have to press it each time to make it flash, but my electronics knowledge isnt good enough to make something better!

    The whole system is mounted onto a pair of normal arm warmers, where it can be removed when you want to wash the arm warmers :angry:

    I havent tried them out as of yet on my bike at night, but im interested to see how well they work around the streets even if my rides are fairly short commutes here and there they still take me down busy main roads and quiet side roads.

    Anyhow heres a video link to what i made and below are some attached pictures :angry:

     
  2. Maz

    Maz Guru

    I quite like it. Very ingenius. Haven't seen the vid yet.
    Does it ever switch on inadvertently when you are simply holding the handlebars or changing gears?
    Is it OK to use when wearing gloves?
     
  3. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    iI've already had a chat with Iceniner about these. I quite like the idea (although I'm not sure I would wear them), but it could be useful for some folk, especially where it is particularly dark.

    My only technical issue is with the button press. My suggestion would be to use some form of tilt sensors which would activate the flashing. This would have to be designed carefully to avoid flashing when you didn't want it, (i.e. putting hand up to say thanks).

    My suggestion would be to have two tilt sensors. One on the upper arm and one on the lower arm. You could then provide a microprocessor with information about what combination of tilts the flashing would activate at. This could be user dependent. In fact you could probably have lots of fun with different flash settings and different arm positions! :angry:

    Good work on putting it together!!
     
  4. Amanda P

    Amanda P The CycleChat user formerly known as Uncle Phil

    Ingenious.

    Now combine that with a helmet camera and people really will think you're the borg!
     
  5. Iceniner

    Iceniner New Member

    I plan to wear these whilst wearing gloves as i dont like cycling without them. The ring that goes over your finger to secure the press button is velcro, so you can adjust it to size and it just undoes like a normal velcro tie. The button itself has velcro backing so in event of something catching on it it will simply tare away from the velcro ring around the finger rather than tare the electrics (he hopes!).

    Not used these on my handle bars yet but i did grab something similar to check if it got in the way and so far it doesnt seem to have a problem. Like you too, i was worried that it would come on, but its turned out that the touch required to turn it on has worked out really well. it takes a firm but not too heavy push to turn on.

    Magnatom - Thanks for your comments previously, the tilt switch would be awesome but i doubt my electronic abilities to be able to wire something like that in with a degree of success, or maybe thats my project for the easter holidays! :angry:

    Below are some more pictures of the wiring etc and to show the LED strip is velcro secured too. The strip itself is 30 cm long and has 15 LEDs .
     
  6. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    I just thought I'd mention it as there may be a few electronics experts on the forum. Let us know how you get on with it when out and about.
     
  7. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    I've seen tilt switches for sale in model supplies catalogues, and in my own state of blissful ignorance would have assumed they were relatively simple to wire in.

    Although, I can't get the connection between tilt swtiches and car bombs out of my head, so I'm not sure I'd dare to use one. I think a switch I activate would be my choice - one that flashed automatically would be good, but it's not hard to tap your thumb on and off anyway. (I think magnatom just wants to do illuminated dancing on his bike, with all his tilt switch options!:sad:)

    Having just watched the vid - wow, that's really very cool. I'm a little sceptical about indicators on bikes usually, especially something that is only mounted on the bike close to the centre, because I think drivers expect an arm signal, not a light. But this way, they get both!
    Well done!
     
  8. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Location:
    Brighton
    They're fab, Iceniner!

    However, I was thinking on my way home it might be worth making a version that was sewn around the cuff of some gloves or something like that. That way drivers in front could see your indication as well.

    As for tilt switches, you can get them fairly cheaply online, and they just make or break a connection depending on their orientation. The other option would be to fit an accelerometer, but then you'd have to wire it up to a microcontroller and program it as well. The tilt switch is simpler.
     
  9. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    I can just see it, hoards of cyclists flapping their arms as they turn, in order to make their indicators flash...:biggrin:
     
  10. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Indicators - why?
     
  11. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Location:
    Brighton
    I would imagine they make your intentions more obvious in the dark. This could be especially true if you have very bright front or rear lights - an unlit arm might not be visible against the glare of the lights.
     
  12. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    Location:
    middle of Norfolk
    You can get a reflective band to wear on your arm already. Cheap, needs no batteries...
     
  13. Maz

    Maz Guru

    you can't do that, waffly - you've just pissed on the inventor's bonfire. Now he'll chuck it in the bin along with that digital rearview mirror.
     
  14. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    Location:
    middle of Norfolk
  15. Iceniner

    Iceniner New Member

    I dont mind people killing my idea, i expected it, but even I thought the rear view camera was overkill! :rolleyes:.

    If people think that only reflectors on the front and rear of your bike are not enough at night, then why not apply the same thought to your arms after all their a "part" of the bikes opperation?

    Im not disagreeing with wafflycat, those arm bands probably work fine but if i can make my self be seen better to drivers, even if people thinks its over kill in my view its worth it.

    Under a lot of street lights do you feel that they get lost in the general light? The problem i see with putting them around a wrist is that its quite a small area that lights up :rolleyes: Something larger would attract more attention from people?