17 Jun 2002
Rollerblades get a safety boost thanks to velcro-attached LEDs.
A German start-up called Bladelight has developed an LED-based illumination system for rollerblades. Using velcro, this device is attached to the skates increasing the skater's visibility and safety.
The system comprises two blue LEDs, which face forward and also light up the underside of the skate, and one red LED that is typically attached to the heel of the skate. "The central wavelength of the blue LEDs is 468 nm," explained Bladelight co-founder Tomas Langara. "The wavelength of the red LED is 645 nm."
The blue LEDs operate continuously and the red LED is pulsed. Output powers are 2500 mcd and 180 mcd for the blue and red devices respectively. The LEDs are said to be robust, shockproof and water-resistant.
A standard battery powers the devices. Langara says that the LEDs can run for 8 to 10 hours before the battery needs to be replaced.
Although initially concentrating on rollerblades, Langara says that the company is in contact with several sporting goods manufacturers that are interested in the idea.
Bladelight has teamed-up with the Fraunhofer Patent Center for German Research to promote this invention. Hans Georg Lehner from the center said: "The aim of this association is to professionally plan, organize and handle innovation processes with companies."
Jacqueline Hewett is news reporter on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.