We are done with our project and would like to present it here. Click on the link to watch the video of our bicycle indicator jackets.
That’s how it looks like right now. I’m still working with a prototype fabric – this is not the one I will be using for the final product. The bolero jacket fits so far, I just have to sew it today. The Arduino will be in the back. The sleeves will be extra long with a thumb hole.
First ideas for jacket design…
– Body fitting jacket
– Long sleeves
A tight, body fitting jacket is necessary for the technology to work. Flex sensors are very sensitive so they have to be close to the body in order to work correctly.
I want the indicators to be around your wrist like a cuff. We thought about the option to detach the indicators from a jacket in order to be able to attach them to a different jacket.
This is another interesting design. I like the idea of being able to wear this bolero jacket over other clothes. This could solve the problem of winter and summer clothing.
- Electric Circuit using Magnets
First Idea was to simply make an electric circuit which is connected to an LED. The circuit closes when you stretch out your arm using magnets. A magnet is placed in the shoulder pad of the jacket and a small metallic plate is placed closed to the magnet. When you lift your arm the magnet attracts the plate and the LED turns on.
Problems: – Circuit might not open if magnet is too strong – Circuit might close when you move your arm even if you do not want to indicate
- Flex Sensors
Flex sensors change their resistance when being bend. The stronger you bend them the higher is the resistance. Connecting a flex sensor to an Arduino, you can program it so the LED’s turn on at a specific resistance. Using two flex sensors on each arm might be more precise than just one. One flex sensor would be placed near the elbow and the second one close to the armpit.
We will probably use a LilyPad Arduino since it is made for purposes like ours. To test the flex sensors we will use a regular Arduino board first.
Video: How flex sensors can be used with LED’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toVFuf4kKgk
1. Wearable Technologies
2. Bicycle Indicators
3. Idea / What I Would Like To Do
My first idea before I started researching was that I would like to increase the visibility and safety of bikers. Especially at night it is often hard to see them even though bikes have lights. I’ve always wanted indicators on my bicycle and have wondered why they are not part of a standard bike. Using hand signals bikers can show in which direction they want to go. During the day it is fairly easy to be seen. However, taking a turn at night can be pretty dangerous and accidents occur easily.
I started researching for existing wearable bicycle indicators and if course I am not the first one having this idea. The first project I found was a jacket with two LED arrows on the back. You can turn them on by clicking a button on your left or on your right sleeve depending in which direction you want to turn.
Second product I found were the Zackees gloves which are bicycle gloves with LED arrows on the back of your hand. You can turn them on and off by clicking. The button is next to your thumb.
The third product goes a little bit more into the direction in which I would like to go. This is an armband which you can put on your upper arm. The indicators turn on if you stretch out your arm. An elbow activated pull switch is used for this.
All of these projects are good as first ideas but this is not what I was looking for and what I think is the safest.
What my project should be like….
- My final product should be some kind of a bracelet attached to your jacket (glows around your wrist and can be seen from everyone)
- One should be able to attach and detach it (you can use it with different jackets, for winter and summer)
- Indicators turn on automatically when you stretch out your arm (hand signals are very natural and known to everyone, therefore easy to use and self explaining)