First off, I'm an avid cyclist. I ride my mountain bike about 50 miles a week. I've discovered that my name-brand "Schwinn" halogen headlight is pretty much useless for night riding as it produces very little light. Also, for rough terrain riding, you have to worry about blowing the bulb.
So aside from giving away my trade secret, I've found a way to incorporate high intensity LEDs (light emitting diodes) into a headlight small enough and light enough to pack on a bike. The only major expense is the rechargible Li-ion batteries. So far, the light averages about 30 hours per charge which beats out most major competitors.
Aside from giving away my trade secrets... I think I'm on the cutting edge with this. With a carbon fiber housing.. this thing could sell big time. If the purchaser provided their own batteries, I could produce these for around $5 each. If I had some kind of injection molder or something to do the carbon fiber via some type of automation of vacuum forming, I could produce them for between $1 and $2. Low end headlights sell for $15 each, and high end bike headlights sell for $200 or more.
The key to selling these over my competitors (at any price range) is by demonstration. I could competitively price different "models" to compete with the more well known brands. A simple plug-in display could show the benefits of my light vs. the competition.
Oddly, I came up with the idea comming home from my engineering classes. My lab work isnt finished until around 10PM, and its dark here in Ohio by that time. After a fairly dim ride home, I started applying what I know about electronic engineering to create this. Necessity really is the mother of invention.
#1. "RE: A "bright" idea" In response to Reply # 0
My first thought... build the prototype (If you haven't already) and talk to Schwinn give them the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon... You may have a winner and if not, it still sounds like a great tool to me.
#3. "RE: A "bright" idea" In response to Reply # 0
You've given out way too much information here. Before you talk to anybody get yourself a good non-disclosure agreement form. Then do a patent search to see if anybody else has tried this or something similar. See below for access to the patent office site. You can do a preliminary search yourself or pay thousands to a patent search attorney.
#4. "good idea vs. patented idea" In response to Reply # 0
You reference trade secrets and someone suggested patents. Just be aware that good ideas do not necessarily get patented.
Not to be negative... but the technology behind putting high-intensity LED's into a package that can be mounted on a bike probably isn't worth patenting. I've got a small flashlight bright enough to blind people with an adjustable beam spread. I could tape it on the handlebars and be good to go with some AA's.
I didn't say it wouldn't make a good product to sell... but having a patent isn't the cure-all.
Also, why does it have to be carbon fiber? The weight difference between carbon fiber and high grade plastic is insignificant and only adds to your cost.
I diagree with going to Schwinn... I'd find an independent bike shop that runs the local market and talk to them. Enabling them to put something on their shelf that helps their fanatic customers could be a start to getting the word out.
Sorry I can't give you a more definitive road map to getting it to market... but I do have one additional thought...
No matter how bright the light is... make sure it casts a broad enough beam so that we can still see where we are going as we bounce around on the street or trail. I had a light one time that cast such a narrow beam that it didn't matter how bright it was... it never was shining in the area I was trying to go.