Bicycle gear does get a lot of creative attention from the wearable electronic community as the Bicycle SPEED-VEST is another example to combine visibility with a touch of fun or practicality, depending on how you want to see it.
Visibility while riding a bike in low visibility condition is one of the most important features as concepts like the Illum Jacket which proposes light elements for aesthetics or Leah Buecley’s Turn Signal Biking Jacket show.
The SPEED-VEST is a bicycle safety gear which displays the wearer’s current speed on their back in easy-to-read lighted numerals made from EL-wires in the form of the old style Nixi-Tube numerical displays giving the SPEED-VEST a kind of retro-fashion look.
El-wire glow brightly when supplied with a very small amount of high voltage, high-frequency current, they are relatively cheap and quite durable.
The complete system consists of a wheel speed sensor mounted on the bike, the numerical display and the open source computing platform Arduino which is doing the speed calculation and display control. the power comes from a 9 volt battery for the Arduino and one AA battery for the display, both running for 6 hours on one set of battery.
Check out the video how cool the speed indication works:
The SPEED-VEST is a collaboration between Brady Clark and Mykle Hansen which created a comprehensive and detailed overview which can be found here.
May this project like the many others we have presented serve as inspiration for designer interested into exploring the practical, fashionable potential the fusion of technology and clothing can offer.