This prototype of the Lumos Aster LED rucksack was sent to us a little while ago. Since then the Lumos Aster Indiegogo campaign has been fully funded but you can still put in an order for an Aster via the Indiegogo website. Lumos aim to start delivering the rucksacks in December this year. You may have seen our recent review of the Port Designs GoLED rucksack. The Lumos Aster takes technology to another level.
The Lumos Aster rucksack comes in 18 or 24 litre capacity, in blue or black , we tested the black vresion. It has LED lights on the rear which show braking and direction indicators. It has ‘profile lights’ on the sides which work in a similar way to the FHOSS FiArmbands we reviewed a little while ago. It also has white LEDs on the straps of the bag in a similar fashion to the Visijax jacket we reviewed recently.
The rucksack is controlled by a handlebar mounted wireless controller referred to by the manufacturers as a ‘sidekick’ and will also have an accompanying app in Android and Apple IOS by the time it’s released. The sidekick will have antitheft features similar to the see.sense lights we also reviewed not long ago and will send a message to the app if tampered with.
As I mentioned this is a prototype, so we have tested the bag as it is. When mentioning features that will be in the final version but weren’t in the prototype I’ll state clearly so there’s no confusion. We should be getting a look at the finished product later this year so keep an eye out for that.
The Lumos Aster is a good looking bag and with its lighting system powered down it wouldn’t look out of place in an office. The bag has a very unusual way of opening. A zip goes diagonally across the bag and you can just open it a bit and put things in the flap at the top, or you can fully open it and the whole bag spreads out. Once the bag is open you can easily access all the handy pockets. Among them there’s a little sunglasses pocket which has a microfleece lining; a shoe bag which is separate so it can be washed and that attaches with a velcro strip inside the bag, handy for keeping dirty footwear away from the rest of your stuff.
There are also a couple of long pockets down each side of the bag which would be handy for a 1 litre water bottle and a mini pump. A 15.6” laptop fits inside a side zipped pocket that is situated between the back padding and the rest of the bag. Outside the bag there’s a helmet holder and a clever strap that tucks in when not in use, but pulls out and can secure a D-Lock.
I found the way the bag opens quite useful for packing a lot into it and if you were commuting by bike you could carry all your cycling gear in it once you’re in the office, even a change of shoes if you wanted to wear cleats. There’s also an ICE (In Case of Emergency) label on the bag so you could put contact details there just in case.
I’m quite excited by the lighting system on the Aster. If you read some of my recent articles you’ll see a lot of items with different ways of using LEDs to increase visibility. The Aster seems to contain aspects of many of these other products all in the one item.
The display on the rear is mounted behind a clear panel which is very effective at allowing the LEDs to shine through and is also easy to wipe clean. The placement of the rear display is at an angle at the bottom of the rucksack that made me think it was geared towards a more leant over position on the bike rather than the upright stance you’d find on a flatbar bike. The LEDs are still clearly visible on an upright bike though.
The sidekick handlebar control is pressed to indicate left or right and while the indicators are active the controller flashes to provide a reminder. The indicators are on the rear display, which gets brighter and shows further lights when an accelerometer detects you are slowing down. Yes, automatic brake lights! This wasn’t testable in the prototype but will be in the final version and uses similar technology to the see.sense lights I tested a while ago.
The strap mounted white LED’s will be brighter and adjustable for position in the final version, while the side mounted profile lighting will be brighter. The idea is to provide visibility from all angles and provide some depth to give other road users a perception of distance and speed. The app will allow you to turn individual lights on and off, adjust brightness to suit you and to economise on battery power. Lumos reckons on around fifteen hours of use per charge, but this wasn’t testable on the prototype due to it running on an improvised battery pack.
Unfortunately the app wasn’t available to test, but we’ve been promised a look when the final product is ready. The sidekick controller wasn’t ready yet either and the prototype only came with a very basic wireless control box with minimal functions. The Indiegogo video below shows how the final Lumos Aster will work.
On Indiegogo you can pre-order one of these bags for $109 plus shipping. Considering the price of some of the other products I’ve tested with LED technology in them I’m impressed. For the commute this rucksack is pretty much perfect. The added visibility as well as all of the genuinely useful pockets and the bonus of having the antitheft feature on your bike is unique. My only criticism of the prototype was that the top of the rucksack touched the back of my aero helmet (which does drop quite low at the back). Lumos say they have had this feedback from other testers and are changing the strap position so the bag sits lower.
We should have a production model of the Lumos Aster later this year so check back to see if that lives up to my pretty high expectations. Lumos already makes and distributes a range of solar backpacks (called; Unplug, Neverlost and Thrillseeker) that can charge up your electrical accessories on the move, so they have experience and I’m pretty confident they can do what they say they will.
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