Smart bike light start-up wins UCD student entrepreneurship programme

Karl Roe, Andrea Pignanelli and Callan Eldon, Kogii

25 June 2018

An early-stage UCD student venture developing a smart bike light to improve real-time safety for cyclists, has been declared overall winner of the 2018 UCD Start-up Stars Programme.

The team behind Kogii will now receive a €3,000 cash prize and has announced plans to begin a crowdfunding campaign.

The light, which is attached to a cyclist’s seatpost, uses motion sensing to detect braking, and when it does, it behaves like a car brake light to assist drivers in understanding a cyclist’s intentions. Depending on ambient lighting conditions, the brightness of the light will also changes to maximise the visibility of the cyclist. It brightens to improve visibility during the day and dims to avoid dazzling drivers at night.

In addition, Kogii incorporates proximity sensors to actively monitor surrounding vehicles. When vehicles come within a dangerous range of the cyclist, the light will dynamically flash to alert drivers of potential danger and improve their visibility or awareness of the cyclist.

Data from these sensors will also allow Kogii to develop interactive visualisation maps to show dangerous cycling zones, at differing times of the day, to improve awareness of such zones to cyclists and drivers.

The members of the Kogii team are Karl Roe, Andrea Pignanelli and Callan Eldon. Karl has a master’s degree from the UCD School of Computer Science and is currently a PhD researcher in the field of sensors and middleware at UCD. Andrea also has a master’s degree from the UCD School of Computer Science and is working as a software engineer in a Dublin tech company. Callan is a graduate of Engineering Technology at the School of Mechanical & Design Engineering in DIT and is working full time as an electronic engineer with Kogii.

Roe said: “Every road is unique, and as a result, data needs to be gathered and analysed to evaluate why specific roads are potentially more dangerous than others. With Kogii, cyclists will be able to purchase a smart light to improve their visibility and safety, along with contributing to making roads a safer place for all cyclists simply by using it.

“It is our intention to supply this new, untapped data to governments, councils and city planners to assist them in building a safer cycling infrastructure for tomorrow.”

The UCD Start-up Stars entrepreneurship programme, now in its fourth year, has been developed by UCD Research and Innovation, the UCD Innovation Academy and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, to support UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow start-up companies.

Prof Suzi Jarvis, founding director, UCD Innovation Academy, said: “UCD Start-up Stars is a great collaboration between NovaUCD, the UCD Innovation Academy and the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

“The students have worked very hard these past few weeks on venture ideas they are passionate about. The final pitches, better than any words, are a testament to the work that is being undertaken at UCD to foster entrepreneurial mind sets and the ambition of our students to tackle big problems. The programme is a fantastic opportunity for them to develop an idea and explore its viability in the real world.”

The members of the final UCD Start-up Stars Programme judging panel were; Tom Flanagan, UCD; Libby Gribben, Xilinx; Helen McBreen, Atlantic Bridge; and Bryan O’Higgins, AIB.

TechCentral Reporters

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