Visibility is a crucial part of cyclist safety, but it's also important that their turning intentions are relayed to other road users. Hand signals were the only option in this area for a long time, but in recent years we've seen technology, such as the Zackees cycling gloves, designed to improve the visibility of turn signals at night. The Lumenus jacket on display at Interbike takes a similar approach, but goes a step further by letting cyclists be guided by the light.
Unlike the Zackees turn signal gloves, whose embedded LEDs need to be manually activated via a switch between the thumb and index finger, the embedded strips of LEDs in the Lumenus jacket are all activated automatically. This is made possible by pairing the jacket with a rider's smartphone via Bluetooth, which allows a companion app to track the rider's location via GPS.
When the cyclist approaches a turn on their preselected route, LEDs in the left or right cuffs will flash to indicate to the cyclist where and in which direction they should turn, while LEDs on the front and back of the jacket will relay these turning intentions to following motorists. Additionally, when the phone's accelerometer detects sudden deceleration, the LEDs will light up to indicate braking. The jacket is waterproof and washable, and its battery should keep the signals coming for up to 30 hours per charge.
In addition to the jacket, Los Angeles-based Lumenus has a range of smart clothing and wearables planned, including vests, shirts, leggings, backpacks, armbands and wristbands. It is looking to get things rolling through a Kickstarter campaign that is set to start in mid-October, with prices expected to range from US$100 to $499 depending on the item.