When it comes to riding a bicycle, motorcycle, or even a skateboard at night, visibility is key. Despite the stereotypical black leather jacket and dark pants commonly seen on television, the average biker typically dons a jacket covered in a reflective material that shines brightly against headlights. Bicyclists often wear helmets or clip flashing lights to themselves or their bike in an attempt to boost visibility.
Enter the HALO, an LED belt available in a variety of colors that combines fiber optics and energy-efficient LEDs to create something that is both fashionable and versatile. The HALO, currently available for preorder via Kickstarter, promises to deliver 360 degrees of bright colored lighting in a fashionable Tronesque (I made up a word there) strip that fits securely around your waist, backpack, or chest.
I decided to reach out to Vincent Ng, the founder of HALO, to discuss the initial inspiration that went into the development of HALO as well as some of the challenges involved with creating a new product.
How Did the Idea for HALO Come About?
“The idea actually started a few years ago with combining two of my passions: DJing and cycling.” He continued, “I used to DJ quite often and I always had a fascination with how club LED lights would create ambience or move the crowd.” Undoubtedly, this is one of the main reasons the HALO has been developed with a backing fabric that makes it look like more of a fashionable accessory than similar products which are made up of simple lights or reflective strips.
He went on to explain that in the middle of the night an idea came to mind that a safety device shouldn’t be something that people feel foolish wearing. Orange vests and reflective tape may save your life, but it won’t do much to help you on the social scene once you arrive wherever it is you’re going. The HALO belt is intended to be used either on the streets or at the club.
Challenges of Designing a New Product
When I asked Vincent Ng about the challenges he and his team faced during initial product development, he explained: “It took almost a year before we had a solid product we were proud of. It was honestly a lot of trial and error. We started out by using electroluminescent wire and tape to incorporate it into different items like clothes and backpacks. Clothes would shrink and a cyclist would not always be wearing a backpack or messenger bag.”
Just following the Kickstarter project since its initial launch will give you an idea of just how many prototypes were created since the initial conception. Different LEDs, fiber optics, and buckles have found their way into the HALO design over the past year.
What Does a Successful Kickstarter Campaign Mean to HALO?
Kickstarter is useful for a variety of reasons. It can help a company pay for the initial fabrication run, equipment required for the next stage or research and development, and advertising. The project itself also serves as a great way to get the word out about an upcoming project and get some preorders in.
For HALO, the funding needed to bring the idea to life was $5,000. With just over a day left in the project, it has already raised over ten times that amount. This is a great sign for the startup as it hopes to extend its product offerings to retail stores by 2013.
Backers should expect to receive their HALOs by the end of October. Have you backed this project? What do you think about the HALO?