We first spotted the Ilumaware passive radar booster a couple years ago in early prototype form. The device is devilishly simple in that its angles reflect automobiles’ crash avoidance radar waves in such a way as to amplify your perceived size. In other words, the car sees you as another car, making it far more responsive to you and stopping in time if the driver is texting or otherwise distracted.
Now, the Ilumaware Shield TL is ready for prime time, launching on Kickstarter with an integrated blinky light…
The Shield TL has been tested extensively, just check their Kickstarter campaign for a crash course in radar and automotive technologies…it’s deep. They even purchased their own Forward Looking Radar Device, the same kind used on modern vehicles, and found that a cyclist with the device became visible to the vehicle at 198m. With the naked eye? Less than 75m. So, the device more than doubled the distance at which the automobile became aware of the cyclist compared to what the driver could actually see.
The chart above shows the typical “volume” of the signal a radar receives back from various vehicles. The problem with smaller objects is that they don’t reflect much, which typically tells the radar that the road ahead is clear. The Shield TL tests showed that it increased the “noise” made by a bicycle by 5+ decibels, making it very visible to the car. In 2016, more than 470 vehicle models were equipped with CAS (Collision Avoidance System) front radars.
The light is powered by a USB-rechargable battery and pumps out 80 lumens of light in a blinky pattern (76 hours) or solid (25 hours). It’s visible 180º. The Kickstarter campaign lets you grab one for $20 off eventual retail, starting at $69 plus shipping. Multi packs are also available.