When a tip about Project Aura arrived in my inbox last week, I suspected that it was just another hipster bike lighting system and the electropop soundtrack of the Vimeo teaser initially confirmed my intuition.
But lo and behold, Project Aura is actually a really good idea: rim-mounted LEDs that change colors based on how fast you ride—self-powered (by a front hub dynamo) to boot. It's the brainchild of Ethan Frier and Jonathan Ota, industrial design students at Carnegie Mellon University who admirably addressed the issue of nighttime cycling accidents with an idea and a Small Undergraduate Research Grant (SURG).
Project Aura is a bicycle lighting system designed to address the issue of nighttime urban bike commuting. The system challenges the current paradigm of bike lighting by rethinking what the purpose of a bike lighting system really is. We embedded LEDs in the rims of the bike, powered by a front hub dynamo. It was our intention to create a functional safety lighting system that riders want to use and want to be seen using it.