Everybody has been talking about the Australian “Fly6” Kickstarter project. If you haven’t heard of it yet, the Fly6 integrates an HD camera into a bicycle “blinky” tail light. The idea is to make ride cameras so ubiquitous that aggressive motorists will never know if they’re on candid camera or not, kind of how dashcams are so popular in Russia.
The notable differentiating features for me:
- Looping video. The Fly6 keeps a continuous record of the final two to six hours of your ride.
- The price! A ride camera for under AU$170.
I’m impressed with the level of beta testing they’ve performed, distributing hundreds of cameras to cyclists all around the world, although they do seem to limit their testing to “avid” road cyclists. There are already a number of videos uploaded to YouTube so you can see all kinds of danger-inducing curb-hugging behavior and get an idea of what license plates look like at the 720p quality offered by the Fly6 camera. Even with the 1080p offered by my GoPro Hero2 I have a hard time making out license plates – perhaps that might be different if a car is actually close enough to hit me?
The innovators behind Fly6 say their goal is to encourage safer driving through the threat of constant surveillance. The GoPro sticking up from my helmet seems to work that way — I get plenty of passing distance with that big, ugly, boxy chunk of plastic mounted on top of my helmet. I’m not convinced a lens hidden inside of a bike light would be as effective, but whatever, it’s half the price and operation is super simple.
Fly6 launched their Kickstarter just four days ago and they’ve already blown through their $95,000 goal. As of this writing most of the early bird special deals are gone. Jump over there right now if you want one of the few remaining specials.
DC Rainmaker (a tri-geek who, oddly enough, lives in Paris, not DC, reviewed one of the beta samples and mostly gives it a thumbs up. He points out this is a “safety” camera, not an “action” camera. Perhaps cameras like this can shed some light, for example, on Tuesday’s hit-from-behind cyclist fatality in Monterey County, California. She said “He swerved directly in front of me, there was nothing I could do!” He said, well, he said nothing, because he didn’t survive the encounter with the front of the Pontiac.