Night-time cyclists everywhere are thankful that LED tail lights have gotten extremely bright in the last 10 years. So bright though, that at close range they can be distracting, or even painful to look at.

Sombra is a bicycle tail light diffuser. It makes your tail light visible from any direction and reduces the bright spot effect of a high-powered LED. Inspired by a ride in London where inventor Offer Canfi was blinded by a passing cyclist’s rear light, he then when he went home relaxed with a book. While reading, he noticed the lampshade on his lamp, and voila! An idea was born…

The Sombra is made from a translucent polypropylene, and should fit most bikes on the market by attaching to their seatpost clamp. By diffusing the light through the plastic, it makes the bike visible from all sides, as well as helps others gauge your speed and distance from them since they do not have the bright light shining in their eyes.

Lampshade-Try-#-6 Lampshade-Try-#-47

Through the process of developing it, Canfi moved from paper and aluminum to the polypropylene that is used for the final product. Even after finding the right material, several different shapes were tried to see what worked best.


One of the coolest things, the Sombra is low impact, meaning it’s locally made from 100% recyclable material and shipped in a regular envelope anywhere in the world.

As with all good ideas lately, the Sombra is on Indiegogo for the next 28 days, starting at just $5 for a single one.


  1. That actually looks like a sensible solution to real problem for a change. Any change of engineering a dimmer switch for 300 Lumen headlights next?

  2. Good idea – second best thing to not buying a point light source in the first place. Good rear lights have built in light diffuser/enlargers, and also a retroreflector.

  3. No idea why you’d buy a rear spotlight. They tend to be much more expensive and not work as well. I guess if you’re dumb enough to buy one, you can buy this too and basically make it work like the cheaper light you should have bought from the beginning. You’ll still probably have to charge it often rather than have AAA batteries that last practically forever

  4. I’m embarrassed…this is about the stupidest most inelegant solution looking for a problem to disgrace my name.

    The sole purpose of a taillight is …TO BE SEEN… especially in a city environment, why would you want to disguise the light? This is a mickey mouse band-aid for a non-problem. If you want a less obtrusive (why??) light, than just get one of the many tiny (worthless) $5 lights off ebay. Dazzling an inattatentive driver..IS THE POINT of a light.

    I guess they assume all the designers of the powerful lights never heard of a diffuser or instruct users to aim the lights downward if excessive brightness(?)
    was a problem.

  5. Wow how laughing oW!

    I can rig my own for the cost of a milk jug deposit. 4 or 5 of them. Ooooof coarse I don’t buy silly lights like the one pictured. I have a preference for oscillating LED’s run on 4 AA batteries.

  6. I have used rear blinkies for MANY years and I’m always looking for the brightest one with disposable batteries and I would NEVER consider dimming it (and to be quite honest) I really don’t care if drivers are annoyed by it as long as it keeps me safe.

  7. You might care when your extreme tail light blinds/disorients a driver and you get brushed. This is a good idea. Not everyone needs it, but some mounts don’t allow optimal angles for lights. Sitting on someone’s wheel while their megaflash 5000 is going epileptic is also highly annoying. Drivers can see/be seen better with their brights on, but its not courteous.

  8. I dunno, there’s A LOT of cars with obnoxiously bright headlights AND tail lights, so I don’t see what’s wrong with competing with them. Obviously, if we reduced overall light pollution and glare in cities than an invention like this would be more appropriate. I think this would be nice for a small town or city w/o a lot of traffic or congestion.

  9. Diffusers are a great idea. You’re not reducing the light output, you’re softening it over a larger area. Arguably an easier object for a driver to see than a pinprick of light, and exactly how car lights are designed.

    You can do the same by cutting a hole in a ping pong ball though…

  10. Diffusers aren’t necessarily a great idea. Granted a theoretical argument can be made that light output (if measured in total power) is not reduced, the reality is that irradiance (intensity) will be reduced making the distance over which the light is effective less, possibly significantly less. There is no free lunch in optics, even if those optics are diffusers.

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