The See.Sense Ace lights provide a clever lighting solution for the commuter, with additional functions, like crash detection, helping to justify their significant expense. Plus there’s the chance that data your lights collect might be used to improve road conditions for you and other cyclists.
Adaptive, bright lights
Also collect road condition data
Well designed mounts
Have to disconnect from power supply to see when fully charged
More expensive than most commuter lights
By Paul Norman
With a large LED surface and smart functions, the See.Sense Ace lightset is a great setup for those looking to increase their ‘be seen’ ability. We’ve been impressed with how they work and how bright they are, the only set to make it into this years Editor’s Choice.
At first glance, the See.Sense Ace lights are compact blinkies, to up your road presence when commuting or on longer rides. They have a large array of LEDs and a lens that provides good sideways visibility, to help you to be seen by merging traffic. There’s a range of flashing and constant modes, which you toggle through after switching the light on.
So far, so predictable.
But the See.Sense Ace lights are a lot smarter than that. For starters, there are accelerometers and light sensors within the units. These allow the See.Sense Ace lights to change brightness as it gets brighter or darker. And typical rider behaviour when negotiating a roundabout, for example – deceleration, a left then a right turn, then another left can be used to adapt brightness and flash rate to up the rider’s road presence when riding through junctions.
See.Sense can identify other road obstacles eg a rider swerving around a pothole or the increased vertical movement when riding over a poorly finished road surface.
See.Sense also has a phone app for iOS and Android, that links to the See.Sense Ace lights via Bluetooth. This lets you switch the lights on and off, control lighting patterns and brightness level and see battery state. In the case of the rear light, you can set it up to work as a brake light when you decelerate too.
The accelerometer built into the lights means that the See.Sense Ace lights can identify a sudden deceleration as a potential crash. You can set up the app to send a text to a designated number with a pre-defined message and provide a clickable link to your location.
The lights can also be set to identify when your bike is moved, when you’re not with it and send an alert to your phone. This only works within range of Bluetooth coverage – about 100m – but is potentially useful if you want to leave your bike outside while you pop into a café or shop. Plus you can set your home location, to stop the alarm going off when you’re within 30m of it.
You can also opt to share data collected by the lights. This data is anonymised and aggregated and merged with GPS location data from the phone, to provide insights into locations of poor road conditions, sudden braking, proportion of cyclists stopped at a location and their dwell times. See.Sense knows, for example, that cyclists at the lights at the end of Westminster Bridge in London are likely to be stopped for around 2 minutes before getting a green signal.
This functionality is now being used actively in trials in Manchester, Dublin and Antwerp to assess where investments or tweaks is infrastructure will make cycling better.
Back to the See.Sense Ace lights, they’re charged up via a mini USB plug. One oddity is that you can’t see the charge state without disconnecting the power supply, when a set of five green LEDs on the top of the unit show battery status. Press the on/off button briefly and this has the same effect.
As well as Bluetooth connectivity, there’s ANT+ built in, so you can control your lights via a Garmin head unit and use it for auto on/off based on the activation of the Garmin.
See.Sense’s mounts are clever too. They use a conventional rubber ring to attach to your frame and then clip securely onto the sides of the light. There are three different positions at different angles, which means that you can set up the light to point horizontally on your seatpost, for example. You can also mount the lights in landscape or portrait orientation. They come with an aero seatpost adapter and a clip to mount the light to clothing or a pack.
In summary, the See.Sense Ace lights are a lot smarter than your average blinky, adapting their lighting pattern to help keep you safe, but also providing crash and theft detection, as well as the option to feed back ride experience data, which might just be used to make cycling safer and easier. See.Sense has partnered with British Cycling to help make this happen.
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