I first noticed the Lazer Urbanize helmet, with integrated front and rear lights, at Interbike 2009, and it was one of the products that I really liked at the show. For commuting and urban riding, I definitely think the idea of a helmet that not only illuminates the road ahead, but makes the wearer’s head more visible to motorists, is a good idea. The Torch T1 by Nathan Wills takes that idea a step further with wide wrap-around front and rear lenses that are backlit by arrays of LEDs. As the designer explains, “this projection method is important as it disperses the light across the lens. This creates increased visibility and brighter light from wider viewing angles. The lenses also protect the LEDs from water, dust, and debris; as you see in the video.” Currently Wills is using Kickstarter to develop and launch the product, so check the page for more information.
A completely different project on Kickstarter right now is the Chalktrail by Scott Baumann. When I first saw it, I joked on Twitter that I was going to ditch my GPS in favor of this low tech way of recording all of my rides. All kidding aside, it does look like an interesting toy idea, but not one without safety concerns. As the first commenter on a Core77 post points out, kids will naturally want to look behind them to see the lines that they are creating. That distraction is not necessarily a good thing when they should be learning to pay attention to the road (or the sidewalk). Maybe this would be a fun toy for a tricycle or scooter on a driveway, but I don’t think I would want my kids to venture any farther than that with it. I would still love to try it myself though. I just wonder how many chalk sticks it would take to mark a 50 mile ride.