My thoughts on the Fly6

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.

Fly 6 bicycle tail light with HD video camera

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.

To learn more and pledge money for this project, visit Fly6 Kickstarter page. They also have a web presence for retail sales after Kickstarter, along with a Facebook page.

6 Comments

  • Grego
    February 13, 2014 - 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I am still waiting for the helmet-mounted, low-profile, 4-camera continuous-recording unit. It doesn’t have to be super high-res, as it’s a safety cam. 4 simultaneous streams of 800x600x8fps or so is easily doable with a modern SD card. I really can’t be bothered to set up multiple camera units every time I go out for a ride.

  • February 14, 2014 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    I’ve been meaning to mention it and I think you’re probably already aware of the 360 view cameras that are supposed to be coming out later this year? Helmet mount but not low-profile.

  • Bike-Scoot
    February 14, 2014 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Or mount the 360 view camera upside down on one of the new “follow-me” mode drones coming out soon….

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/airdroids/the-pocket-drone-your-personal-flying-robot

  • February 15, 2014 - 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how the camera performs in low light with the red blinky around it. Has anyone seen night time footage from this cam?

  • February 15, 2014 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Found an example of the camera at night. Looks pretty decent. The blinky light is definitely present. Not sure how well you can see license plates, but probably you could extract it from the footage if you needed to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qux8wkc26tE&feature=share&list=UU6y_DbpezOinlzHv8O092zw&index=3

  • Grego
    February 18, 2014 - 1:46 am | Permalink

    I did a little research; it looks like 360 sports cam Geonaute will be released this year for $500. I don’t know if I can deal, though:

    When I said “low-profile” before, I was thinking of something the height of only the part with the three lenses. This seems more like a unicorn-cam at 80mm plus the height of the helmet mount. Also, there’s no mention of safety anywhere on their site, so the camera likely doesn’t have any continuous-recording or save-this-incident mode.

    So, I’ll keep looking.

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