Kickstarter project allows cyclists to hack traffic signals

Veloloop designed to trigger electromagnetic road sensors

If you’ve ever found yourself waiting at an intersection for a stoplight that never seems to change your bicycle might have been to blame.

Rather than using timed traffic lights, many cities now use what are known as demand-actuated traffic signals to regulate the flow of traffic. These sensors are generally not pressure-sensitive, but rather, pick up on disturbances to the electromagnetic field they generate. Once tripped, the sensor turns the light green, and the driver (or cyclist) goes on their way.

Unfortunately, (and with apologies to Obi-Wan Kenobi) bicycles don’t always create enough “disturbance to the force.” There are several tricks cyclists can use to trigger these sensors, but a new Kickstarter project strives to make it even easier.

Inventor Nat Collins has more than 15 years experience in the semiconductor industry. His creation, The Veloloop, amplifies your bicycle’s ability to trigger these sensors.

The Veloloop is powered by a pair of AAA batteries. A LED on the device notifies the rider if the Veloloop is searching for a sensor. The LED flashes red when it’s in search mode and turns a solid red when it has locked onto and triggered the sensor. 

The veloloop amplifies your bicycle’s ability to trigger electromagnetic stoplight sensors: the veloloop amplifies your bicycle’s ability to trigger electromagnetic stoplight sensors
The veloloop amplifies your bicycle’s ability to trigger electromagnetic stoplight sensors: the veloloop amplifies your bicycle’s ability to trigger electromagnetic stoplight sensors

Collins' prototypes are quite large. "The larger the loop, the stronger the return signal is. The power requirement goes up exponentially as the loop gets smaller, hence our choice for the size," said Collins.

To learn more about the Veloloop visit the project’s Kickstarter page.

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