These bicycle brakes add battery-free lighting

Magnic Light Microlight
© Magnic Light

The latest iteration of a compact contactless bicycle dynamo lighting solution is smaller, lighter, and smarter than ever.

By taking one of the major pain points of bike lights, batteries, completely out of the equation, Magnic Light is helping make it more convenient for riders to stay illuminated while riding.

Displaying highly visible lights on the front, back, and sides of a bicycle makes it easier for cyclists to be seen while on the road, but that visibility comes at a cost - needing fresh batteries on a regular basis. Rechargeable batteries have come a long way from their early days, and today's offerings are reliable, robust, and not that much more expensive than regular batteries. Buying two sets of rechargeable batteries and a charger is one way to radically cut the costs (and the associated resource footprint) of battery usage for small electronics, but going batteryless is even better.

Although not every application is appropriate for generating and using electricity right at the point of use, bicycle lighting is one prime opportunity to do so, especially if the generator doesn't add drag by touching the wheel or tire itself. Magnic Light first launched its solution, a compact dynamo lighting product that used a contactless system to generate electricity from spinning bicycle wheels, back in 2012, and then upgraded it with a microprocessor the next year, but the latest version, the Microlight, features a major overhaul.

Unlike the previous two versions, which attached to the brake calipers, Magnic Light's new Microlights are actually integrated into the brake shoes themselves, allowing for a slimmer and lighter product. The Microlights are available for both front and rear brakes, the angle of the LED can be adjusted for optimal visibility, and the rear lights also include an automatic brake light function to brighten when the brakes are applied.

A Stand Light version includes a capacitor to store enough electricity to power the lights while briefly stopped (which is kind of a weak point in dynamo lights). A "Smart" version is also available, which includes a turn signal function that can be activated by tapping the brake lever, as well as a navigation feature that blinks the lights for the cyclist in order to signal about an upcoming turn (accessed via an accompanying app).

"Turn your bike into a smart, illuminated bike by exchanging the brake pads: No friction, no batteries, no cables - just endless energy." - Magnic Light

On top of the wow factor of the functionality of these little lights, Magnic Light is also offering them at a much lower price than the previous models ($70+ US), with a pair of the basic Microlights models going for just €19 ($23 US). The Stand Light version is €38 ($46 US) per pair, and a full set of front and rear lights is available in the Smart version for €99 ($119).

Although Magnic Light's previous two campaigns were rather modest by tech crowdfunding standards ($76K and $231K, respectively), the Kickstarter campaign for the Microlights is aiming much higher, with a goal of raising at least €1 million ($1.2 million US) from backers over the next month and a half. Find out more at Magnic Light.

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