Words & Photo: Backtracker
STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA - BACKTRACKER, a radar-powered cycling first, has been launched via an online crowdfunding campaign. Safety-conscious road cyclists will be able to order the device via DRAGON INNOVATION, a platform that has helped to launch other crowdfunded success stories such as the Pebble smartwatch and Hammerhead navigation system. Backtracker's success relies on about 1000 SUPPORTERS financially backing the product before it can make it past prototyping and onto actual handlebars.
The team behind Backtracker
South African radar and computer vision specialists and cycling enthusiasts IKUBU have been creating prototypes for Backtracker since 2010. They believe their device will bring much-needed confidence back to a sport too frequently compromised by fear of unaware motorists. To them, Backtracker is a type of sixth sense that helps cyclists to see what they ordinarily cannot.
How it works
Backtracker consists of two small, lightweight units which detect and interpret the speed and acceleration of rear-approaching vehicles at a distance of up to 150 yds (140 m). The handlebar-mounted front unit indicates your potential safety risk using a simple peripheral vision range indicator. The intelligent backlight alerts motorists to your position via increasingly frequent light pulses.
Backtracker's radar technology is valuable when cycling in low visibility conditions such as fog and rain, and in evening or early morning hours. It's functionality is not affected by the proximity of other cyclists, which is useful when training in pelotons or on family cycling excursions.
What it costs
The device will be available in variously priced packages, including an early bird special of USD 149.00 (about ZAR1590.00), triple or bulk order discounts, and packages created specifically for tech developers. The standard Backtracker price is USD 199.00 (about ZAR 2125.00).
Go to www.backtracker.io to learn more, check out specifications, and to order your own device.