BRIGHT SAFETY LIGHTS for wheelchairs, strollers, bicycles, and more!
About this project
Multi-Use Safety Lights for All Commuters
TetraGear is excited to introduce a series of universal LED safety lights for people who use mobility devices. TetraGear lights offer an effective, robust, and personalized solution to dramatically increase visibility while riding outdoors.
These lights were designed out of necessity after one of our employees, Eric Molendyk, was hit by a car crossing the street in his wheelchair. Since then, we have worked diligently to overcome the limitations of conventional safety options, such as bike lights and flags. Through close consultation with many wheelchair and scooter users, we have developed lights that meet a variety of needs: durability, usability, and maximum visibility, amongst others.
With over 60 prototype clients throughout Vancouver, we even started getting requests from people who use recumbent bikes, strollers, and bike trailers, so we made the lights multi-use. Now everyone on the road will be brightly seen!
People have a variety of expectations for how safety lights should look and function, so we developed two versions of the lights: the strip version and the aerial version. The strip version is lightweight and low-profile, while the aerial version sits on a raised, flexible antenna for 360 degrees of visibility. We also offer the option to combine both versions for maximum visibility and customizable fun.
The controller was designed so that anybody can operate it. It features large, touch-sensitive pads for selecting colour and flash settings. The sensitivity of the switches can be adjusted by the user, if needed.
The robust controller lasts through long days and all sorts of weather, and features a rechargeable battery protected by a weatherproof housing.
Long Lasting Rechargeable Battery
The lights are powered by an internal rechargeable battery. Many beta clients told us they get up to two weeks on a single charge, even with daily use.
Customizable Colours and Modes
Who says beauty and safety are incompatible? Not us, so we made sure the lights are fashionable and personalized: both versions come with 6 colour modes and 6 flashing modes, which can be combined to suit any mood or setting.
With the built-in colour customizer, users can further choose from an almost limitless colour array. These vibrant options ensure that you won’t just be seen—you’ll be talked about too.
Easy to Mount
We made sure the lights could be mounted to virtually any wheeled device. The aerial light uses a custom-designed universal clamp that can be secured to any round or square frame.
The strip lights use industrial-strength velcro that can be adhered to any surface, including curves, making them easily removable. All required mounting accessories are included with each package.
The system is light weight and tailored for use on any mobility aid.
Built to Last
It goes without saying that safety devices have to be reliable, so the lights and accessories were designed to withstand the wear and tear of daily use. They’re also weather resistant, which is a must in rainy places like Vancouver!
One morning in November 2008, Eric Molendyk was commuting to work at the Tetra Society in his electric wheelchair when he was hit by a vehicle. Even though he was wearing reflective gear and had the right of way, the driver just didn’t see him.
After months of recovery, Eric sat down with Tetra’s volunteer engineers to brainstorm how he and other wheeled commuters could always be visible while riding outdoors. Inspired to create a superior safety light, the team began to develop what would eventually become TetraGear lights. Today Eric and everyone at TetraGear are thrilled to finally offer this innovative solution to the public!
In the years following Eric’s accident, our volunteer team developed, refined, tested, and installed over 60 safety light prototypes around Vancouver, BC. In February 2015, the Tetra Society incorporated TetraGear with a vision to turn these prototypes into a robust product that can be made available for everybody, while creating a sustainable source of revenue for other non-profit community initiatives.
Our mission is to turn TetraGear into a leader in innovative assistive devices that increase safety, access, and independence for people with disabilities. Now that our lights are ready to launch, we couldn’t be more proud of how well they increase visibility and safety for everybody. We have an array of other products up our sleeves and can’t wait to make those a reality as well!
Meet our Team
We are a team of dreamers with a vision to apply our skills and knowledge for good!
Our co-founder, Radu Postole, has over six years of experience with technology startups in engineering and business roles, and has been volunteering with the Tetra Society since 2010. The Tetra Society has built two successful social ventures in the past, selling outdoor TrailRiders for people with disabilities, and marketing adapted sailing boats.
Our dedicated engineers have backgrounds in electronics, manufacturing, and mechanical design. Our industrial and graphic designers have years of experience in ergonomics and user-centered design.
We also have a team of advisors with academic backgrounds in disability studies, design and branding, and market research.
Craig H. Neilsen Foundation
J.W. McConnel Family Foundation
Neil Squire Society
Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation (SSDF)
Tetra Society of North America
British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC)
National Research Council (NRC IRAP)
Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC)
Blusson Spinal Cord Center (ICORD)
Sunny Hill Center for Children
Risks and challenges
As with any hardware product, there are always risks that component suppliers may not deliver quality parts on time. Over the last five years, we’ve refined numerous prototype versions of the lights, and have built more than 20 Beta units that are being constantly put to the test by our users. Many of these units have been in-field for over 6 months without any issues. This process has allowed us to validate suppliers and the quality of our parts.
We have identified the most critical base components that have to arrive at our assembly facility in Vancouver, and will be ordering those first to ensure we stay on schedule with product deliveries. One challenge may be managing more pledges than we anticipated, so we have recently expanded our facility and have room to bring more people on board as needed. We also plan to hire people with disabilities to help assemble the lights through our various community employment partners.
Another challenge backers may face is installing the lights on their mobility device, so we are working on various installation videos, instruction manuals, and support materials that will be widely available before rewards are shipped.
Note that specifications outlined in this Kickstarter project are subject to change given the component sourcing and assembly refinement process associated with the development of electronic products.