A French company which plans to produce LED signs for motorcycles and cars so riders and drivers can communicate with each other by SMS is having a second go at funding its product.
The idea is you use voice activation to dictate a written message to traffic which is displayed on an LED sign. It could be thanking them for leaving a gap, warning them of emergency braking or abusing them for cutting you off!
We announced the launch of their first Indiegogo crowd funding campaign in May 2018.
Drivers and riders obviously didn’t think much of the SMS idea because it raised just €318 (about $A491) from eight backers. The flexible goal was €32,735 (about $A50,500).
Now French company Omicron is launching a second crowdfunding campaign. This time, they just want $A5000 and have raised more than $1500 with almost three weeks to go.
A simple wave or finger gesture has always been enough for me, but it appears some people want more precise communication.
They say they have almost all the funding required to begin production but re simply after “some security”.
The product launch is scheduled for January 3, 2019.
As with all crowd-funding campaigns, investors should be wary and read the fine print as not all return the money if the product does not go ahead.
The MotoChat and CarChat devices use a Bluetooth microphone, universal voice recognition and an LED board that fits on a bike’s or car’s number plate.
Riders simply dictate their SMS message through the microphone to the LED board which shows seven letters, but also scrolls so you can display a longer message.
The microphone uses a different signal to normal bluetooth intercom so it won’t interfere.
There is also a three-axis gyroscope accelerometer that will detect emergency braking and automatically translate it to the LED board as a warning to drivers behind.
However, let’s hope they spell “brake” correctly and not “break” as in the video!
MotoChat also includes an SOS function in the event of a crash.
The accelerometer detects lean angles of more than 67 degrees and interprets that as a crash.
The GPRS tracker will note the exact location and an associated app that works with any smartphone will send an SOS message with GPS location to a prerecorded number of your choice, so long as there is signal.
The person who receives the SOS can then alert emergency services at the touch of a button.
There is no subscription required for the service as there is with some other emergency tracking devices.
The European Union now requires all new cars to have a similar SOS device called eCall and it will only be a matter of time before that extends to all new motorcycles.
BMW already has an eCall function available on some of its bikes.
Retail price will be €90 for MotoChat and €119 for CarChat. Supporters of their Indiegogo funding campaign will be able to order them for €60 (about $A92) and €75 ($A115.75).
The only use I could see for this device is to ask road hogs to move over and let me pass. However, the driver wouldn’t see that message unless I displayed it on the front of my bike!
- What are some of the messages you would like to send? Leave your reply in the box below.