The Countdown to Maker Faire Bay Area is On!


“Heads Down” Display for Bicycles

Bikes Home Raspberry Pi
“Heads Down” Display for Bicycles

MAKE@SXSW 2013So far the coolest thing I’ve seen at SXSW has been this clever early-stage prototype from our own Matt Richardson. It’s a “dynamic bike headlight” that projects your speed (and potentially other useful information) onto the road in front of you as you ride.

The prototype has a Raspberry Pi for a brain, which is connected through its onboard HDMI port to an LED pico projector mounted between the handlebars. A Hall effect sensor, connected to the Pi’s GPIO pins via an adafruit Pi T-Cobbler breakout kit, detects revolutions of the front wheel. The software counts these, converts their rate into a speed in MPH, and sends the numbers to the projector for display on the road surface.

Matt showed off the proof-of-concept build this morning at Bike Hugger’s Built: Make & Tell event.


Right now, the setup is battery-powered, and is limited to one hour’s use. Matt’s already making plans for dynamo power in a later build. Check Matt’s Flickr set, linked below, for more pics of the system in action.

Dynamic Bike Headlight

16 thoughts on ““Heads Down” Display for Bicycles

  1. miroslava von schlockbaum says:

    if i had that thing, i’d run into a stopped car in front of me while looking down messing about with it. but then, i’m a klutz (with a nice broken clavicle to prove it)

  2. Jake Spurlock says:

    Is that velcro or zip ties holding it all together?

    1. “Heads Down” Display for Bicycles Matt Richardson says:

      It’s all velcro. I wanted to be able to detach and reattach the development version without wasting materials.

  3. hongziyang (@hongziyang) says:

    That is just brilliant. I love it!

  4. Malphas says:

    Looks nice only sad thing is, i see the light on the street but not the light that is comming from the bike.

    1. Malphas says:

      Dont know if i drive my car if i’m going to see the light on the street. I’m positionned higher and i like to see light on the bike so i could see the bike’s distance in my rearview mirrors make’ it easyer.

  5. Vince says:

    It’s probably the best gadget for bike listed here!

  6. robk says:

    there is one big problem with this;
    how do you see your speed during the day?

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 30% off early bird ticket sales ends August 31st, 2023!

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Prices Increase in....