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2016 Vendor Newsmaker Q&A with Jeff Hammock

Automatic smart brake lights hit aftermarket, designed to reduce rear-end wrecks
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - 06:00
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Taking stock of an initial product rollout in August, Jeff Hammock says that MechOptix’s automatic brake light technology has struck a chord with consumers and distributors.

Developments and refinements have been moving forward at an accelerated pace since the 2012 founding of Huntsville, Ala.-based MechOptix. Hammock, the firm’s CEO, recently answered a series of questions posed by Aftermarket Business World.

Q: What does your automatic brake lamp technology entail?

A: MechOptix offers a smart brake lamp that constantly measures g-forces using an accelerometer then turns itself on to reduce your chances of being rear ended. We are using cutting edge LED and energy storage components in our circuit. We also use the same accelerometer that is in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

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Q: How does it operate?

A: Stoptix automatic brake lamps are always measuring g-forces and turn themselves on when the vehicle rapidly slows down. This deceleration could be caused by downshifting or engine braking, a front-end collision, or a powertrain malfunction (e.g. seized engine). The beauty of our solution is that this lamp will light itself up every time it should. Our lamps recharge in under three seconds when you apply the brakes.

Q: Which vehicle segments is this designed for?

A: My wife almost ran over me while I was on my motorcycle during a cross-country trip. She was following me in an SUV. I was doing what most riders do – downshifting to slow down instead of using the brakes. This means that my bike’s brake lights were not on and my bike wasn’t indicating its rapid deceleration.

We developed the Stoptix automatic brake lamp product to remedy this problem for motorcycles, but we invented a product that replaces the most common brake light bulb, the 1157 tail/brake light bulb. It is an easy bulb swap for motorcycles, passenger vehicles, tow-behind trailers, buses, vans, and tractor-trailer trucks. Our smart lamp displaces a bulb that has been in use for 100-plus years.

Q: What markets are you seeking?

A: Our target market, at least for the first six months, is motorcycles. We have developed relationships with buyers and C-level executives at the major distribution companies. This gets our product into 30,000 retail outlets in the U.S. and Canada.

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