Backtracker by iKubu

$52,655 raised of $226,000 goal

30 days left

Radar 6th sense for cyclists

So you're on your bicycle, enjoying the ride, when suddenly..WHOOSH! A car comes out of nowhere and nearly knocks you over.

Ever happened to you? Well, being hit from behind is the single biggest cause of cycling deaths in the U.S. Even if we have rear-view mirrors, and cycle defensively, we remain vulnerable on the road.

In comes Backtracker! It tackles this issue using radar to give cyclists a 6th sense. It gives you the speed and distance of rear approaching vehicles from up to 150 yards away.  On top of increasing your awareness, it also alerts cars to your presence using an intelligent backlight system.

Backtracker is a big step towards bringing cycling into the 21st century and needs your help to make it happen. Order now by selecting one of the offers below.

Small_icon_ikubu

iKubu

Stellenbosch, SA

Meet the team

Back this Project

Backtracker Bonus

$179

96 left 4 backers
Backtracker_club

Backtracker Bonus

Wow! The Early Bird option flew off the shelves. We're excited to be able to offer a limited number of Backtrackers at this special rate. Take back the road and enjoy the ride. 

Includes:

  • Backtracker μRadar with integrated backlight
  • Vehicle range indicator for cyclist
  • Mounting brackets for seat post and handlebar
  • Mini USB charger and cable
  • Access to all future firmware updates
  • FREE shipping in the USA!
  • $10 International Shipping (see FAQ for details)

Estimated ship date is December 2014

Backtracker Standard

$199

52 backers
Incentive_standard

Backtracker Standard

Be one of the first backers to pre-order the device for a decently discounted rate.

Includes:

  • Backtracker μRadar with integrated backlight
  • Vehicle range indicator for cyclist
  • Mounting brackets for seat post and handlebar
  • Mini USB charger and cable
  • Access to all future firmware updates
  • FREE shipping in the USA!
  • $10 International Shipping (see FAQ for details)

Estimated ship date is December 2014

Backtracker Pair

$360

13 backers
Backtracker_pair

Backtracker Pair

The ride is always better with a friend. Buy a pair and save, or check out the Trio for an even better deal!

Includes: Backtracker Standard x 2

The Fine Print:

  • FCC and CE certification will be performed
  • $10 International Shipping (see FAQ for details)

Estimated ship date is December 2014

Backtracker Trio

$497

2 backers
Incentive_syndicate

Backtracker Trio

For the frugal and resourceful ones amongst us. Mobilise two of your friends to pitch in, and save $100 on three Backtracker units.

Includes: Backtracker Standard x 3

The Fine Print:

  • FCC and CE certification will be performed
  • $10 International Shipping (see FAQ for details)

Estimated ship date is December 2014

Backtracker Early Bird

$149

0 left 110 backers
Incentive_earlybird

Backtracker Early Bird

Sold out! Hit the road early and be one of the first to bring backtracker to your handlebars!

Includes:

  • Backtracker μRadar with integrated backlight
  • Vehicle range indicator for cyclist
  • Mounting brackets for seat post and handlebar
  • Mini USB charger and cable
  • Access to all future firmware updates

The Fine Print:

  • FCC and CE certification will be performed
  • Please see the FAQs for international shipping options!

Estimated ship date is December 2014

Backtracker Developer

$229

37 left 13 backers
Incentive_developer

Backtracker Developer

For our fellow Engineers and Innovators, so you can build and innovate on top of our platform.

Includes: Everything that comes with the Backtracker Standard option, PLUS

  • A BLE development resource bundle, including source code and documentation.
  • Sample schematics for a BLE front unit
  • Subscription to our Backtracker API partner program
  • $10 International Shipping (see FAQ for details)

Estimated ship date is December 2014

Backtracker Business

$399

18 left 2 backers
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Backtracker Business

We have an amazing team of Engineers at iKubu. We'll help you to find innovative solutions to your problems, or look at ways that we can tailor our μRadar platform to meet your needs.

Includes: Everything that comes with the Backtracker Developer option, PLUS

  • We’ll schedule a video call to brainstorm your unique ideas, and provide up to 4 man hours of expert advice.
  • $10 International Shipping (see FAQ for details)

Estimated ship date is December 2014

Backtracker Distributor

$6,950

3 left 2 backers
Incentive_peloton

Backtracker Distributor

For distributors and agents that are interested in securing exclusive rights for Backtracker in a town or region.Put some skin in the game, and show us that you are serious. We can also do custom order sizes: bigger orders equals bigger area. Send any distribution requests to distribution@backtracker.io.

Includes:

  • 50 Backtracker Standard units with free shipping
  • We’ll set up a video call to personally thank you, and to discuss future distribution opportunities
  • Bulk discount of $139 per unit!

The Fine Print:

  • FCC and CE certification will be performed
  • Please see the FAQs for international shipping options!

Estimated ship date is December 2014

Just Want To Help?

If you want to help make this product come to life but don't want anything in return, you can do it here. Everything helps!

As Featured In

The Journey Begins

As cyclists, we know the joy of taking to the open road. We also know the dangers, and rear approaching vehicles represent the worst kind. We don’t always hear them approaching, and motorists are often blissfully unaware of cyclists. In 2010 we set the task of solving this challenge in the hope of gaining some peace of mind while enjoying the fresh air.

This led us on a very interesting three year journey, from prototyping all the way to peloton trials, with a trip halfway around the world thrown in for good measure. Backtracker is the result of some extensive and very tidy thinking, and we believe you’ll appreciate it as much as we enjoyed creating it.

backtracker

Backtracker uses military grade radar to detect and track vehicles coming from behind. The front unit clips onto your bicycle handlebars, and shows you traffic information using various LEDs.  Each LED indicates a set distance behind you, going back as far as 150 yards.  In short, the front unit gives you intuitive data about what’s going on behind you. This extra awareness lets you make the best decisions for your environment. 

The back unit houses the micro-radar, and clips onto your seat-post.  It also has an intelligent backlight that warns motorists when getting closer to you.  If there are no cars, it works like a normal backlight.  The moment it picks up a car, it starts to get brighter and progressively flickers faster as the vehicle comes closer. This gives the driver a very intuitive sense of closing distance.

The Engineering behind Backtracker is solid, and we’ve manufactured several working units. We do however need funds for commercialization. If we succeed in reaching our funding goal, we will spend the money on the following key activities:

  • Tooling for the enclosures
  • Developing automated test equipment
  • Setting up manufacturing
  • Ordering components (MOQs)
  • Regulatory certification (FCC, ICC, CE)

We're committed to bringing cycling into the 21st century and invite you to join us on this exciting journey!

How it works

backtracker how it works


Technical Specifications

backtracker technical specifications

Join us

We invite you to join us in bringing greater peace of mind to the cycling experience. Help us get out there by:

  • Sharing this page with other cyclists
  • Sharing our stories through your social network
  • Becoming one of the first to own a Backtracker device and helping to make cycling history

Thank you!

The Backtracker team

www.backtracker.io

Disclaimer:

Whilst Backtracker is designed and manufactured to provide the user with information of rear-approaching vehicles, its use cannot guarantee the user’s safety under any circumstances. It remains the user’s responsibility to take all reasonable precautions available when cycling in order to promote his/her own safety and the user is strongly advised to avoid relying on Backtracker solely for safety purposes. Backtracker LLC, its owners, employees, contractors, licensors, assigns and/or any entity or person associated to it shall therefore not be liable for any damages, whether direct, indirect or consequential, or any other liability, of any nature whatsoever, arising from any accident or incident in which a user of Backtracker may be involved in whilst making use of the product.

Meet the Team

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Franz Struwig - Managing Director

With a naturally creative and collaborative leadership style, Franz is passionate about the possibilities created where business, technology and people meet. He graduated in Computer Engineering, and completed a Program in Project Management at the University of Pretoria in 2003 and 2007 respectively, and completed his MBA cum laude at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. 

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Denho Geldenhuys - Chief Happiness Officer

Denho's specialization in the design and analysis of Information Technology Systems is complimented by his skill in managing customer relationships across time zones and cultural differences. He graduated in 2004 from the University of Pretoria, holding a Computer Engineering degree.

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Nolan van Heerden - Product Development Manager

With over a decade of experience in electronic product development and expertise in Radar and Computer Vision system design, Nolan takes care of the team's core technical leadership. He holds a cum laude Honours degree in Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria, with numerous academic awards to his name, including the Vice-Chancellor and Principal's Medal and the Engineering Council of South Africa Merit Medal.

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Johan Janse van Rensburg - Hardware Development

Johan was the electronics designer on Backtracker, and also developed most of its firmware. A Linux enthusiast and specialist in Control Systems with a focus on Un-manned Autonomous Vehicles, Johan holds an Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree from Stellenbosch University, received in 2011.

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Jonathan Kahlon - Software Engineer

With a natural flair for communication and problem solving, Jonathan is responsible for quality and automated testing, as well as liaising with international customers. He attained his Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Bath in 2012.

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Byron Dally - Software Engineer and Scrum Master

Managing a team of developers serving customers in Australia, the UK, and Singapore, Byron is critical in managing software engineering problem-solving across inter-national borders. He graduated in 2011, with an Honours degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, having been included in the Dean's merit list for three successive years during his studies.

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Bertus Basson - Algorithm and Software Development

With experience lecturing in C Software Development at the University of Stellenbosch, Bertus joined the team to focus on crafting code on embedded platforms where resources are scarce and performance is imperative. He graduated with a cum laude Masters in Electronic Engineering from Stellenbosch University in 2011, following a cum laude Electric Engineering with CS degree attained at the same university in 2008. 

FAQ

Do you ship internationally?

We're excited to put Backtracker on the road around the world. We will ship to USA, RSA, UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Brazil. We are focusing our certification efforts on the USA and RSA. If you live outside those areas, send us a note and we'll let keep you up to date!

We reserve the right to refund a backer if we do not get enough orders from a region.

What do I do when Backtracker tells me a car is approaching?

Backtracker is not a warning device.  It provides you with information so that you can make the best decision given your unique context.  If you are on a very narrow piece of road, and Backtracker picks up a car, you may want to get off the road.  In other situations you may be happy to just hold you line.  Defensive cyclists use all the information they can get to make safe decisions.

Why not just use a rear-view mirror?

Rear view mirrors are great, but they have some serious limitations:

  • Mirrors don't give you speed and distance
  • Mirrors have a very limited range
  • Mirrors don't work in low visibility conditions; exactly when cyclists need it most.
I can hear cars, why do I need a Backtracker?

Backtracker tracks cars from up to 150 yards, so it will see cars before you can hear them.  Noise from oncoming traffic and wind will also compromise and quiet running cars can all contribute to impeding your hearing. 

I have a normal blinky light, surely that's good enough?

Backlights are very reactive.  Backtracker includes an intelligent Backlight that proactively communicates with motorists.  It saves battery power when their are no cars, and really goes full blast when required.  This is important since motorists are often texting or doing other things while driving...so your normal blinky is not going to cut it!  In addition to increasing the brightness, it also changes its flicker rate as the car comes closer - giving the motorist a clear sense of closing distance.

How visible is the Backtracker backlight?

We designed an awesome backlight!  The custom lens allows us to focus light so that vehicles a 150 yards away can clearly see it. Backtracker saves battery life while there are no vehicles by only using a normal pulsing light. As the threat level increases, the brightness and flicker rate of the light increases to alert the driver of the cyclist’s presence – giving you the best of both worlds. 

Are the front LEDs visible in daylight?

We’ve built in an ambient light sensor to dynamically adjust the front unit’s LEDs intensity so that we don’t blind a rider when it’s dark, and that you can still see in daylight. Direct sunlight, however, does impact visibility.

Does Backtracker interfere with WiFi or GSM?

No. Backtracker operates at a much higher frequency than WiFi and GSM.

Does Backtracker detect all cars at 150 yards?

Various factors come into play when detecting cars. Each car has a different RCS (radar cross section), while obstacles and the curvature in the road also has an impact. On a straight road, big cars will typically be detected close to the maximum distance, while smaller cars and motorcycles will be detected a bit later, i.e. 100 yards.

Please note that due to the nature of radar, detections can never be 100% guaranteed, so it is important that cyclists always take full responsibility for their own safety, and not rely solely on Backtracker.

Is Backtracker useful in high density traffic?

Absolutely.  From testing we’ve found that Backtracker is very useful when crossing lanes.  The device picks up multiple cars at once, so you get a good sense of the stream of traffic.  It there-fore helps you to know when there are gaps in the traffic so that you don’t constantly have to look over your shoulder to try and identify the most opportune moment to change lanes.  

Can I connect Backtracker to my phone?

Backtracker should be able to interface with mobile phones that support Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) (e.g. iPhone 5s). We’ve exposed an open API, so any tech enthusiast can write applications for Back-tracker.  We don’t have an App yet since our focus is on the hardware, but watch this space!

Do Backtracker units interfere with each other?

We currently support up to six Backtracker units operating in very close proximity to each other.  We've put a lot of effort into making our radar robust in the face of interference.  We employ techniques such as channel hopping to minimize the chance of interference. 

Can Backtracker see through a cyclist riding behind you?

Any obstructions behind Backtracker may have a negative impact on performance.  These obstructions include cars and cyclists.  In most cases Backtracker will still gather enough signal from a car to notify the cyclist, but you have to be aware that obstructions will reduce performance.

Do I still have to look over my shoulder when changing lanes?

Backtracker provides information that helps you to increase your awareness of what's going on behind you; it does not replace traditional methods!  If you think it's safe to turn or change lanes based on what Backtracker is telling you, you must always still glance over your shoulder or use your rear-view mirror to verify that the coast is clear.  Backtracker therefore reduces the frequency with which you have to look over your shoulder, but you ultimately still have to look.

How can I recharge the units?

The front and the back units can be recharged via mini USB.

How do I know if the unit requires charging?

When you switch on the units, the LEDs serve as a power gauge, climbing up to indicate the power level. The front unit will alert the cyclist through its status LEDs if either of the devices are running low on power. The user will also be alerted if the BLE link becomes inactive. 

Disclaimer

Whilst Backtracker is designed and manufactured to provide the user with information of rear-approaching vehicles, its use cannot guarantee the user’s safety under any circumstances. It remains the user’s responsibility to take all reasonable precautions available when cycling in order to promote his/her own safety and the user is strongly advised to avoid relying on Backtracker solely for safety purposes. Backtracker LLC, its owners, employees, contractors, licensors, assigns and/or any entity or person associated to it shall therefore not be liable for any damages, whether direct, indirect or consequential, or any other liability, of any nature whatsoever, arising from any accident or incident in which a user of Backtracker may be involved in whilst making use of the product.


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