Backtracker, a locally developed device that just about gives cyclists eyes in the back of their heads comes under LIRON SEGEV’s radar in his latest review.
South Africa’s Silicon-Valley of Stellenbosch is continuing to produce world-class products. The latest innovation comes from iKubu, whose invention is aimed at keeping cyclist safe on the road as they tackle one of the biggest frustrations of cycling – the fear of not knowing what is coming up behind you.
iKubu, a Stellenbosch based company made up of a team of nine individuals developed Backtracker, a radar system that is mounted to the back of the bicycle which constantly monitors the road behind the cyclist. As soon as a vehicle is detected up to 137 meters the front unit, which is mounted on the handlebars start to illuminate warning a cyclist of the approaching vehicle. As the car inches closer to the cyclist, the LED escalates the warning to the cyclist, represented by a green LED. Should there be multiple cars, each one is represented by a new LED.
The back radar unit has a red set of lights that flash more intensely as the car approaches which makes the cyclist even more visible to the vehicle.
The back radar unit and the front unit communicate with each other via low energy Bluetooth, so there are no cumbersome wires that need to be attached to the bike. The units have a 1 200 mAh battery, which should last around 8 hours.
The system was developed after one of the product development mangers encountered a cyclist who was cycling against the flow of traffic. The cyclist said that he felt unsafe not knowing what is coming up behind him and would rather face traffic head-on.
iKubu is currently using the crowd fund-raising platform Dragon Innovation to raise $226 000. They chose this platform over Kickstarter or Indiegogo as the Dragon platform is specific built for hardware based projects which don’t simply accept any project onto the platform – only those that have been certified as legitimate and with the best chances of success.
Should their project be successful, they will produce the Backtracker system jointly in China and in South Africa. They have already attracted the attention of investors so the company is confident that this product will be successfully launched to the cycling market.
Backtracker is expected to retail at R2 500 but is available now for $199 here.
* Liron Segev is also known as The Techie Guy. You can read his blog athttp://www.thetechieguy.com or follow him on Twitter on @Liron_Segev