Signal | Bike Alarm and Sign Indicator

Even though Toronto can be considered quite adapted for bikes, commuting surrounded by cars can be quite challenging. Both of us commute everyday to school, and we believe that one of the hardest thing for bikers is to signalize to cars which direction we are heading to. As part of one of our assignments at OCAD we decided to develop a display system that would help us alert the cars around us of our actions.


We are on different levels of biking, I have been biking for a while not but Leon has just started biking, for him it is really hard to bike without both hands on the handle, so we came up with a solution that uses an accelerometer to detect your head movement to trigger different states of the display that indicates which way you’re going to.

If head is straight it will show blue light, indicating you’re going forward. If you lean forward it turns red indicating you’re about to stop. If turn your head either left or right the light turns green to the side your head is turning too.



Even though this solution helps beginners as it doesn’t need you to move your hand to click a button or switch for example, it is not very practical. During some early testing we realized that turning your head around is a very common action when you’re biking so sometimes the lights would trigger even though we were just biking straight. The other downside is that moving your head while you’re turning or even stoping can diminish your vision. So we decided to improve it.



For our second iteration we decided to use two buttons as triggers, one for left and one for right and if you want to stop, you just need to press both. Instead of attaching the display to the head, Signal is now part of the bike frame. We also decided to use LED strips for this iteration as it is much clear to indicate direction with it.

To create the case we used acrylic and wood to make a box that sits perfectly on the rear rack of the bike. The LED strip goes around the outside of the box, the acrylic is used to cover it and dime the light. All the electronics are inside of the box.

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Another huge problem that every biker faces is the increasing numbers of bike thefts. To solve that issue we used the same PCB, wiring and accelerometer from the previous iteration and added a speaker. We wrote a code detect shaking and trigger the alarm. If the alarm goes off in order to deactivate the biker need to press a sequence code using the two buttons on the front. After deactivated Signal goes into biking mode which you can use to sign your directions.

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Made by Leon & Marcelo

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