Bicycles

Ford attempts to bridge the driver/cyclist gap, with its Emoji Jacket

Ford attempts to bridge the dr...
Put on a happy face – the Emoji Jacket in use
Put on a happy face – the Emoji Jacket in use
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The Emoji Jacket's bar-mounted remote
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The Emoji Jacket's bar-mounted remote
Put on a happy face – the Emoji Jacket in use
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Put on a happy face – the Emoji Jacket in use

It's no secret that motorists sometimes just don't "get" what cyclists are thinking. Ford Europe has envisioned at least part of a solution, in the form of its one-off Emoji Jacket.

Created as part of the automaker's Share the Road campaign, the jacket incorporates an LED mesh across its back, that is wirelessly controlled by a handlebar-mounted remote. Utilizing push-buttons on that remote, riders can choose to display any of six LED symbols: left or right turn-indicator arrows, a hazard signal for when they're stopping, and smiley-face, frowny-face or neutral-face emojis.

The Emoji Jacket's bar-mounted remote
The Emoji Jacket's bar-mounted remote

"If street signs and effective single images are good enough to tell a driver to slow down, to stop, then they should also certainly be good enough to allow a driver to understand the desires and needs of cyclists, who are very vulnerable on the road," says Dr. Neil Cohn, a linguist with Tilburg University in The Netherlands, who helped design the jacket.

Ford currently has no plans to produce the garment commercially. If you like the idea of a cycling jacket that at least has built-in LED turn indicators, though, then you might want to check out the Lumenus or the Tuibo.

Source: Ford Europe via Bike Radar

2 comments
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Wonder if you can create your own shapes. Remember the old "Yosemite Sam Back Off" mudflaps from the 70's? Wonder what that would look like in LED grid form? Also, I hope they tied into the brake handles for automatic "brake lights" imagery.
buzzclick
Having enjoyed both bicycles and cars all my life in equal measure, one of the most important credos I have for cyclists is: "See and be seen", and this concept from Ford can be useful. For the past several years there's been a push in my city promoting the use of bicycles, and that's a good thing, but this has inadvertently caused a power-grab by the cyclists who want more of the street space for their own. When on my bicycle, I have found that a vast majority of drivers give respect to the 2-wheelers. There are inconsiderate and ignorant people on both sides of this coin. If more new people are using bicycles, there should be a drivers' test for them as well. Almost every time a cyclist gets hurt (when they could've avoided it), it emotionally incentivizes a war against cars and trucks.