eBumper Lets Your Car Speak for Itself


In case the title confuses you in any way, this is what eBumper, a San Diego company uses as its slogan on its website. If you are still confused as to why we are reporting on this, eBumper does not really make your car talk, but instead adds a display that can be mounted on the bumper and is programmable from the user’s smartphone.

The whole concept is based on a 9.7” electrophoretic display (E Ink) that can be controlled via Bluetooth from a paired smartphone. The display is black and white only and runs on an internal battery for up to a year. This eliminates the need for a cable running from the car to the display unit. The display is mounted in a weatherproof housing and attaches to the car via magnets. Since most bumpers today are made from plastic, the eBumper will most likely not be on the bumper but on a metal part of the car.


The restrictions in the US for mounting displays on cars include ‘no use of video displays’. For once the slow refresh rate of electrophoretic displays is a real advantage here. Of course, the low power consumption enables ‘the running on its own battery’ concept.

The concept envisions the user to convey messages to the outside of the car without attaching any printed documents. This seems to be most important if the message changes frequently. One example is the pre-arranged taxi ride at the airport, where the name of the customer changes for every ride. Here the eBumper would make a lot of sense. Other uses on the highway for car to car messaging will most likely get you in trouble with your driving neighbors and ultimately the authorities. That’s not to say that this will not attract a certain following.

eBumper seems to have a similar view of their market changes as they offer mini fleet (10 displays) and enterprise fleet (25 displays) pricing in their Kickstarter campaign. The early bird price of $219 will be going to $349 after the campaign closes. Their current plan calls for product shipment by October of 2016. – NH