Sep. 23, 2013 8:30 am

MyBell: quirky, customizable bicycle bell will launch crowdfunding this fall

It's an electronic bicycle bell, which emits any sound the user wants to load onto it, up to 85 decibels. With a fourth prototype this fall, the team will launch a crowdfunding campaign.

Mybell Prototype III on a bike handlebar

Contributed by MyBell, used by permission

They might not have won the top prize, but when Mybell made its final presentation to New York’s Next Top Makers last week it secured a step forward for the quirky bicycle product a Brooklyn team aims to ship later this year.

By making it to the finalists, Mybell won $4,000 and technical assistance.

The latest prototype, in the works when Brooklyn visited earlier this month, is inside a 3D printed housing and controlled by a custom circuit board. It’s an electronic bicycle bell, which emits any sound the user wants to load onto it, up to 85 decibels.

“I don’t like to be limited by anything. Mybell users shouldn’t be limited either,” Peter Pottier, the Mybell CEO, said. “It should be customizable. Though that made it more challenging on an engineering level.”

You can see the team explain the product here:

The first prototype was simply a cheap bicycle bell that team member Valentin Sidersky, 26, drilled open and installed the electronics inside. Later, they brought on Robert Clark, 28, design for manufacturing, who helped them to bring that prototype to one that could be more affordably produced.

When the fourth prototype comes out, they plan to have it include a button for triggering the bell, built into the housing and a bike light.

Pottier said Mybell will take the project to crowdfunding in the fall.

“With crowdfunding, you are able to engage with a customer base that is really passionate, really vocal and who will evangelize your product for you. And they get to become a part of the story,” he said.

Five different Kickstarter products for bicycle accessories had broken $150,000 already that he knows, Pottier said.

The team will table at the New York Maker Faire this weekend and the International Consumer Electronics Summit in January.

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The team at work

MyBell team at work - photo contributed by MyBell

The customized circuit board


Edward Bear, Electrical Engineer, 30, demonstrates adjustments made to the protoype

Edward Bear, showing developments in the prototype

Partially assembled

Inside Mybell

Prototype III and the competition

Mybell and the competition

Brady Dale

Brady Dale is a freelance writer, comedian and storyteller. A native of Pittsburg, Kansas, he went to Cornell and worked as a progressive community organizer for over a decade before quitting his job to pursue writing and performance. He lives in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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