BS in Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering Department
Motorcycling at night is an inherently dangerous situation and is compounded by poor illumination of the roadway when cornering through a turn. Due to stationary headlamps geometry being designed for upright riding position, cornering a motorcycle causes the illumination of the forward path to be decreased significantly. The goal of this project is to develop a lighting system that will improve road illumination for riders at night using guidable lights that deflect prior to and during a turn. In addition to developing a working prototype, this project’s intent is to work in conjunction with a partner from the school of business to present the project to investors and hopefully start a viable business.
A major challenge of this project is that the final product will have to be patentable in order to protect the intellectual property of the start-up business. By researching the United States Patent and Trademark Office online patent documents, the team found over a dozen patents related to this field of invention, some owned by the Kawasaki and Honda motorcycle companies, but none using our unique approach to guiding the lights.
Our team came up with a top concept that we believe will deliver superior performance and qualify for patent issuing. The top concept is mainly a three part mechatronics system using a microcontroller to direct lighting in the desired direction of a turn. The system will track the movement of the rider’s head to constantly monitor where he/she is looking in the roadway ahead. Then the microcontroller will redirect lighting to the same area. This concept allows a rider to see ahead through a turn before entering it and therefore drastically improve riding conditions for the rider at night. Furthermore, this innovation makes it possible to be issued a patent to protect our intellectual property.
The main purpose of this report is to define our engineering requirements, show the concept selection process, provide the reader with background information, and describe the functional aspects of the top concept. The project team was challenged with finding a suitable method to track the rider’s head movement in the harsh environment of a motorcycle. Most of the generated concepts had little promise of functioning reliably, if at all. Through extensive research the team has finally found all necessary components to make our approach to a guidable motorcycle lighting system work.