17 Jun 2002
A bicycle tyre with LEDs embedded in the tread will make a visible difference to cyclists' safety.
A British inventor has developed a bicycle tyre that has light-emitting diodes (LEDs) embedded in the tread. Called the Night Bright Tyre, LEDs are mounted both in the tread and the sidewall of the tyre making it visible from all angles.
James Tristram, who has patented his idea, mounts typically 4 to 8 LEDs within both the front and back tyres. White LEDs, with a broad spectral output between 470 and 750 nm, are mounted on the front tyre whilst red LEDs centered on 660 nm are embedded into the rear tyre.
Tristram explained that "the LEDs are mounted just below the tread of the tyre. They are made from a hard resin and are very difficult to damage, are waterproof and durable". Tristram claims that not even a puncture would cause a problem.
The LEDs operate from a 9V battery that is attached to the sidewall within the tyre in the prototype model. For future models, Tristram plans to substitute the battery for a dynamo, which will be also be housed inside the tyre, to power the LEDs continually.
Tristram is initially concentrating on bikes, wheelchairs and pushchairs. The inventor, who is currently seeking a manufacturer to produce and market his idea, told Optics.org: "My plans are to contact firms all over the world to get the product out into the marketplace and make the world a safer place to be in."
Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.