“It’s giving you more than just lighting,” Zandipour told Mashable. “It’s actually providing information to you and other people on the road such as cars. And this is improving your riding experience as a rider because you have all these cool effects, but it also is keeping you safer on the road.”
The handlebars also feature proximity lighting — the headlight turns on or off depending on how close you are to the bike — and a low-power GPS module that serves as a bike tracker. Pay-as-you-go SIM card users can send their bikes SMS text messages and, in turn, receive a link with their bike’s location.
The handlebars are powered by two rechargeable batteries, and can only be installed using special screws with a provided tool.
Helios launched its Kickstarter campaign Tuesday to raise $70,000. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had already raised more than $17,000.
Kickstarter backers can order Helios Bars in dropbar and bullhorn styles in either black or white for an early-bird pledge of $150 (limited quantity) or $199. Custom colors can be ordered for $249.
From Collegiate Roots to HAXLR8R
Zandipour, along with co-founders Kenneth Gibbs and Antonio Belmontes, first met as freshmen roommates at the University of California, Merced. There, Zandipour said, the trio discovered they had different skills that complemented one another. They kicked around lots of different ideas for businesses, and finally, right before graduation, the idea for Helios was born.
This year, the Helios team was housed in hardware startup accelerator HAXLR8R, located in Shenzhen, China, right next to the city’s electronics hub of component sellers and manufacturers. “Shenzhen really made it easy to iterate rapidly with prototypes and figure out what works and what doesn’t,” Zandipour said. “And then, by the time you get back from lunch, you have maybe one or two more features already developed that you didn’t have in the morning.”
HAXLR8R provides hardware entrepreneurs with seed funding, office space and mentoring. Other recent HAXLR8R-accelerated startups include Spark Devices, which developed an Arduino-compatible board to add Wi-Fi to practically any project; Fabule, which created a brainy LED lamp with a personality; and LightUp, which created building blocks to teach electronics to kids and teens.
Speed is something akin to software, but generally not to hardware development, Zandipour continued. “If you’re living in the United States and having to order microchips to be shipped to you and trying to email factories, like really specific requests — it’s just being in there (Shenzhen) and being able to meet with people and…factories: showing them exactly what you mean, rather than sending like 100 attachments in an email — it’s really beneficial.”
Cyclists: Would you use Helios Bars? What gadgets do you use on your bike? Let us know in the comments.
Thumbnail and lead image by Mashable/Vignesh Ramachandran. Secondary images courtesy of Helios.