Meet the battery-free bike light powered by magnetism

No batteries, no drag, no worries

Remember those bike lights powered by little friction generators? Remember how they were a real… drag? The NEO Reelight promises something better, and more impressive-sounding: a bike light that’s powered by a current induced by magnetism.

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That’s Eddy currents, to be precise – also known as Foucault currents, they’re induced within conductors by a changing magnetic field in the conductor – the alloy wheels of a bicycle, in this case.

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So how does it work? Well the design looks much likes an old-school dynamo, and clips onto the forks or frame next to the wheel rim. The NEO generator contains six powerful magnets, and Eddy currents are generated within them when the rim starts rotating next to it.

The makers claim it generates enough power to run two 1W LEDs and one or two (front and rear light) low-power LEDs for backup light. When you’re riding, a concentrated beam is focused on the road ahead, and an extra-wide angle rear light provides rear and side visibility. When you’re stopped at the lights, a backup system kicks in to deliver energy to the low-power LEDs to keep you visible.

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A closer look at the reelite: a closer look at the reelite

The makers have developed a prototype model of the new light, and are now on Kickstarter looking for funding. They’ve already raised $41,000 of their $60,000 goal from more than a thousand backers, with around a month still to go on the Kickstarter campaign. They’ve also already run tests with more than 4,000 cyclists, and teamed up with Danish design studio Kilo to come up with a simple, stylish form factor for the new lights.

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Provided they hit their target, the NEO team hope to start manufacturing the first units this month, and have them ready to ship in time for Christmas 2015. Too bad reindeer can’t be fitted with them, eh?