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Concept, Road Bike 21 3638

I first mentioned Evan Solida’s Cerevellum concept at the end of 2007 and I had a chance to ride with a rough prototype a few months later. At that time, Evan’s cylco-computer with an integrated digital rearview camera was just a concept design, but now the product is starting production and is available for pre-order on the Cerevellum website. The Cerevellum will be manufactured in North America and ready to ship in Spring 2011. The cost is $499 ($549 with heart-rate strap) and pre-orders are refundable.

Evan, who was a 2004 Kansas state champion cyclist, explains that an accident prompted him to design and develop the product. After 15 years of accident free riding, he was hit by a car in 2007. “I landed on my face,” he recalls. “The ac­cident really shook me up. I did a few more races, but eventually lost my drive.” Fortunately, Evan chose to focus on the design for a cyclometer with a rearview camera at that time. “I wanted to create something to make it safer to ride a bike. My design background really helped me pull the pieces togeth­er. Everything—the skills and the resources—fell into place.”

In addition to displaying the current rearview on the screen, the unit features accident detection and recording (a very useful feature that a few commenters suggested in response to the earlier posts). It will also offer ANT+ compatibility for heart rate and power-measuring systems, and a GPS antenna for a mapping software upgrade in 2012. As you can tell from my past posts, this is a product that I am pretty excited about. I can’t wait to try it out once it is available and I will share my impressions when I do.

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  1. Bob P. August 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm -  Reply

    Mirrors don’t need batteries, are easy to use, and don’t take up dashboard space. I like the kind that attach to the helmet. They are overpriced at $15. Digital rear view camera? Shouldn’t we be looking forward while riding?

    • Andrew August 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm -  Reply

      We should be paying attention to everything while riding. You’re as responsible as anyone for your safety.

      Most competitive riders wouldn’t be caught dead with a mirror (justify it by calling it extra drag, most likely they’d just consider it dorky), but the rear-view camera is just an additional integrated feature on what looks to be a slick, trick cycle-computer.

  2. Ross Nicholson August 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm -  Reply

    This is a great idea for velomobiles, but it needs GPSt to be viable. After all, rear view cameras are common now and available for far less in admittedly bulkier packages. Just saying GPS is coming without providing details doesn’t make much marketing sense.

  3. Impossibly Stupid August 3, 2010 at 6:45 pm -  Reply

    The ship has sailed on $500 devices that do one thing. Given that an iPod touch runs as low as $200 and can do so much more, the inventor would have bee a lot better off using that as the foundation for any extra bike-related gizmos. I can’t see paying more than $150 for a camera+pickups+software, so I think this as a hard sell even if it were going for $350.

    Then again, I’m not sure how well a backlit LCD is going to be displaying anything while biking around on a bright sunny day. I don’t know anyone that has bike mounts for their mobile devices. So I’d agree with other posters and say this is sounding like a lot of overkill compared to a cheap mirror and a cheap bike computer.

  4. Mark August 3, 2010 at 9:43 pm -  Reply

    I’d like to have this with just the camera and the accident sensor plus a GPS to tell them where to send the cops and the ambulance.

  5. between the lines August 4, 2010 at 1:06 am -  Reply

    “Impossibly Stupid” you should keep in mind that he started working on this gadget back in 2004 when iPhone was a Cisco trademark and iPod touch was perhaps nothing more than a bunch of concept drawings.
    PS: The nice thing about having a rear camera is that you could capture the license plate number of the vehicle in case of a hit and run accident.

    • Impossibly Stupid August 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm -  Reply

      If you had read closer, you’d have seen the accident that prompted this was in 2007. Even neglecting that mobile devices have been boom during the *entire* design time of this gadget, it needs to be viewed in the *current* market. Just like high-end bike lighting has been outshined (ha ha!) by cheap LED flashlights that have come out recently, this thing is similarly missing the target by aiming 3 years into the past.

      So if what you want is a small video recorder, a quick search will tell you they start at around $50 in the current market. And I have doubts about how useful *any* recording is going to be while being bumped around on the back of a bike, no matter how smoothly you think you ride. Feel free to point me to any video online that shows a bike-mounted (or even motorcycle) cam picking up a readable license plate.

  6. TP August 4, 2010 at 3:20 am -  Reply

    It should be able to record the last 15 minutes of video to provide hard evidence against those reckless cage monkeys, because of whom this device was designed in the first place.

  7. Wayne Myer August 4, 2010 at 11:39 am -  Reply

    Looks like a solution looking for a problem. I agree with Bob P regarding the mirrors. Statistically, rear-end strikes from autos are a much smaller threat than those threats originating from the front 180 degrees.

    I could see potential for racing in that racers could possibly better detect an attacking rider. As a safety device, I’ll relegate this to the “Yet Another Bicycle Geegaw” bin.

  8. Milessio August 5, 2010 at 7:16 am -  Reply

    This is just the product for cheating triathletes – no need to worry any more about draft-busters coming from behind & catching you drafting!

  9. Aarn Tate August 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm -  Reply

    This is the solution to a problem for streamliners and velomobiles. Mirrors greatly increase drag and a camera rear view system can be integrated cleanly into the aerodynamic shekll without adding drag.

    Just what I have been looking for!

  10. Ron August 10, 2010 at 8:31 pm -  Reply

    Evan needs to branch out this idea from bicycles to other vehicles. I see lots more potential in other areas.

  11. Globramma Fujanna August 18, 2010 at 2:16 am -  Reply

    Agree with above posters who say this is a solution looking for the wrong problem. For the rider to see behind them while on a bicycle, they need to do one of two things: turn head, or use a mirror.

    What this product OUGHT to be, that would sell by the hundreds of thousands of units:

    Bicycle CRASH camera, capable of capturing license plate clearly in many or most situations, and designed to produce evidence admissible in court. f

    Camera specs:
    – High-resolution (5.0MP?), low-frame rate (10FPS?), high shutter speed (1/500th sec? to negate road vibration) camera with upper infra-red spectrum sensitivity and a quality glass wide-angle lens, with a powerful (3-to-5-watt) pulsed IR LED source that pulses in sync with the camera shutter every 5th frame to illuminate a car’s license plate (by retro-reflection) day or night. Continuously-looping flash-RAM-based storage that captures the last 120 seconds of footage. Sensitive 3-axis accelerometer coupled with intelligent signal processing to detect a crash and then stop recording 1 minute AFTER the crash event. That way, there would be 60 seconds of footage both before and after the crash. Date & time stamp on each frame of video from internal, factory-set (to UTC) quartz real-time clock accurate to +/- 60 seconds in 10 years. (or better,) backed up by a lithium coin-cell battery to keep clock running even if main battery is completely discharged.

    Casing / physical design
    Casing should be fiber-reinforced resin, completely sealed, IP67 waterproof, with a very scratch-resistant camera lens housing. Mounting should be easy on any tubular part of the bike frame, including front forks, and camera unit should be clip-on/clip-off removable so it can be easily taken off in theft-prone environments. The flash-ram portion of the unit should be in a mini-vault (think aircraft CVR) that can stand the crush force of a tractor-trailer tire or the deceleration shock of a 60MPH impact against a 1″ thick steel plate.

    The unit should be designed with a courtroom setting in mind, i.e. for data integrity. As such it should be uni-directional in data transfer, to make it impossible to alter the contents of its internal storage. Any time it’s set on its custom inductive charging base it should automatically begin sending out (in a continuous loop) the contents of the flash RAM, via a very low power (again, inductive-loop, perhaps high-speed RS232?), very-short-range wireless method, encrypted with a key that is unique to its charging base, so only the owner (or the manufacturer, if requested) can decrypt the video.
    Video format should be an open-source standard, not microsoft WMV or Adobe Flash. Perhaps MPEG4?

    Camera power-up and power-down should be auto-controlled by the 3-axis accelerometer, i.e. power-on when motion is detected, power-down into sleep mode 10 minutes after last movement is detected. Size and weight should be commensurate with a fully-operational battery life of 12 hours, and a sleep mode of 30 days or more.

    User Interface
    One or more LEDs deeply buried in the casing, or situated behind the transparent lens covering, would provide status information to the user: Power-on or sleep status, and whether the unit had been “tripped” into accident mode where recording has stopped. As unit could be tripped by false alarms such as dropping it on a table or similar situations, it should be easily resettable by a sequence of shaking motions which the accelerometers would detect and then use to reset the unit. –> the reset shake sequence should be carefully designed to be easy to use, but complex enough that it could never be tripped by random motion. For example, it should incorporate time delays as well as directional acceleration inputs. (“Shake 3 times down, wait 1 to 2 seconds, shake up-down-up-down, wait 1 to 2 seconds, shake left-right-left, wait 1 second, tap lightly on surface.”)

    I’d pay at least $150 to $250 for a unit like the one I’ve described above. I’d probably buy 2, one for front and one for back. (What about the sides? Well, in another decade technology will permit have 4 tiny high res cameras mounted in a 360-degree pod atop one’s helmet…)

  12. Ron August 23, 2010 at 9:24 pm -  Reply

    Evan Solida lost a bit of my respect. I approached him with an email and he doesn’t respond even after a month. He’s quick to email you with requests for idea promotion though.

    • James T August 24, 2010 at 8:58 am -  Reply

      Sometimes emails get lost in the shuffle, especially when you are working on many different things. Why don’t you send him another one? I know Evan outside of this project, and he really is a nice guy.

  13. Doug September 6, 2010 at 10:53 pm -  Reply

    This would be good on my tandem. The extra rider behind you makes it that much more challenging to keep track of traffic approaching from the rear.

  14. JR April 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm -  Reply

    Think you need to develop market to Burley et al: all those families with bike trailers pulling kids that never can be seen. Cut me in on the idea!!
    Austin Texas

  15. Susan November 3, 2011 at 2:48 am -  Reply

    I think it’s a great idea. I don’t use a mirror because after a certain age the eye doesn’t shift focus from far to near very quickly, and looking at a helmet-mounted mirror long enough for that focus adjustment to occur takes attention away from the road in front for too long. As a middle-aged rider, I love the idea of rear camera view being displayed on small bar-mounted computer….ideally integrated with other cycling computer functions.

  16. Ross Nicholson November 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm -  Reply

    Unfortunately, this venture has suffered delays. Deposits were taken, full refunds promised and, at this date, my deposit has not been returned.

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