It all started around the dinner table when our mother was complaining about her ride to work and we started discussing whether the new laws about cars staying away from cyclists would make any difference. We decided to make a difference.
From that first idea through to the prototype has taken about six months work. We first checked there was nothing similar available on the market – the only things even close are design concepts rather than practical implementations, and none react actively to cars and maintain the 1 meter distance. We then did a lot of work to get the laser line right including creating a mathematical model to work out how to draw the laser line on the road at the right distance.
Once we had the concept locked down we went through multiple design iterations and tried them out on a test rig. We then tried to refine down the design to a more minimalist set of components. Luckily, as we were aiming at a proof-of-concept prototype we decided we did not need to make it weather-proof.
There were a number of challenges in putting the electronics together and programming the Arduino micro-controller that is at the heart of the system. We went through several components before our soldering improved.