Innovative Self-Powered LED Bike Lights with the Xbat and the Revolight
Sep11

Innovative Self-Powered LED Bike Lights with the Xbat and the Revolight

Creativity and necessity inspire ingenuity and innovation. For years, many bicyclists have used dynamo self-powered LED lighting systems, but the technology could definitely use an upgrade. Many dynamo devices create noticeable drag on the bicycle wheels, are too heavy, and contribute to the wear and tear of tires. Cyclists have started to turn away from dynamo LEDs, opting for an unimpeded ride over the safety of a well-lit bicycle. Now, though, it’s becoming possible to have both. The Xbat Changes Everything Taiwanese company Sr. Eco (short for Sunrising Eco-Friendly Technology) has released their Xbat line of LED bike lighting, a name intended to emphasize that the product “eXcludes batteries.” The Xbat is self-powered like the dynamo devices, but doesn’t rely on friction to generate its energy; it instead uses dynamic induction to power its LEDs. Dynamic induction begins with pairs of magnets that have been attached to the bike’s tires. As the tires spin, the magnets pass by each other, generating energy with help from the conductive rim of the bicycle wheel. The energy triggers the hub generator (see below), which then uses the energy to power the LED lighting. Silent, Lightweight Safety The Xbat “hub” is the light itself, mounted with a lightweight generator and weighing only sixteen grams. While traditional self-powered LEDs can flicker or dim as the bicycle slows or stops, some Xbat models have a built-in capacitor that keeps the lights on for up to three minutes after the wheels stop spinning. This is a fantastic safety- and security feature that gives all the perks of wireless, battery-operated LED systems without requiring riders to change batteries. The dynamic induction technology has acute sensitivity, initiating the light almost immediately after the wheels begin to spin. It operates silently (another huge perk) and combines human power, environmental friendliness, and the perks of never having to switch off a light. The Future of LEDs The Revolights prototype, funded in part by a pair of Kickstarter campaigns and an equity investment on ABC’s Shark Tank, is perhaps the next generation of LED safety for cyclists. It is a lightweight, friction-free system offering 360° lighting. With safety as its goal, the Revolights prototype increases bike visibility from the side with LED light strips attached to the rims of the wheels. The Revolights LED system is a legal headlight that illuminates paths and signs. It also has a brake light that automatically brightens and dims as the bike changes speed. One of the most fascinating aspects of this invention is that the fork-mounted magnet and the accelerometer provide data to the LEDs so that they illuminate only when oriented at the front...

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Smart Bike Lets You Download Indoor Cycling Classes
Nov10

Smart Bike Lets You Download Indoor Cycling Classes

Picture, if you will, a typical indoor cycling class. Rows of sweaty people peddling away, an intimidating drill sergeant figure at the front, looking as if they never stop working out. Lots of inspirational phrases being shouted; lots of encouragement to go around. Individual performers are mentioned by name. Now, picture this happening in your very own living room. That’s what Peloton offers. Peloton is a new company that specializes in manufacturing internet-connected stationary bikes that offer users the ability to stream classes live to the bike and have their exercise data sent to the instructor of that class. You get all the benefits of a big class and a highly trained instructor – without ever leaving home. Peloton already has thousands of users, which is impressive for a fitness company that only has one brick and mortar studio. Founder and CEO John Foley realized early that what people love about these kinds of classes is the experience and the content. That made Foley, who has spent most of his career building brands online, think about streaming the lessons to people in their homes. The bike itself costs almost $2,000, which certainly places it in the luxury category for most people. Foley, however, says that the money isn’t being made on the bikes themselves; the money, he says, is in the $39 a month subscription that users purchase for unlimited access to classes. Since they have already made a $2,000 investment, Foley believes that people will be less likely to cancel their subscriptions. Most importantly, it eliminates one excuse for not exercising. Bringing the gym home, and making it interactive while it’s there, is a huge step in defeating exercise-induced...

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A (Data) Miner 49er Builds the NFL’s Premier Stadium Network
Nov05

A (Data) Miner 49er Builds the NFL’s Premier Stadium Network

The San Francisco 49ers struck gold when they hired Dan Williams, former network engineer and technical operations chief for social media/data mining giant Facebook, as their VP of technology. Knowing a bit about how technology users consume and experience data, Williams designed the state-of-the-art network architecture for Levi’s Stadium, the major outdoor entertainment complex and new football stadium for the 49ers and their fans. To start, there’s the 40Gb/s backbone that’s three to four times faster than the internet capacity at most sports stadiums. Levi’s Stadium has 400 miles of cabling—70 of which are just for WiFi service. The WiFi infrastructure is head-and-shoulders above what you will find at other NFL stadiums both in speed and the number of users who can simultaneously connect inside the stadium. The stadium has seating capacity for 68,500. On average, 65% of fans use their smartphones at their seats. (Levi’s Stadium is located in Santa Clara in the center of Silicon Valley, after all, where smartphone addiction was born.) There are the 1,200 WiFi access points across the stadium and fully half of them (600) are in the lower bowl, which seats 45,000. That calculates as roughly one access point for every 100 seats within the bowl. Tech specialists rove the aisles to answer questions for anyone needing help logging onto WiFi. Fans use the WiFi network to check football statistics and to post on social media during timeouts. With a free mobile phone app they can order food and drink for pick up at a concession express line or for delivery to their seat. For those fans who just want to use their cellular service, antennas distributed throughout the stadium address the connectivity issue and improve the cellular signals. Elsewhere, the in-stadium user experience is enhanced with flat-screen TVs in the luxury boxes and all major walkways, and two giant HD-quality scoreboards at the north and south zones of the stadium, for easy viewing from any seat in the...

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