Illum Jacket – Illuminating the Future for Cycle Safety
Every year in the UK, 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents. So far this year, 109 people, including children have died from such incidents.* Aiming to drastically bring down accident and fatality rates, Goose Design have developed a concept for a visually impactful cycle jacket, encompassing functional design with wearable technology.
Having defined the scope of the project in terms of the style and the overall goal for improving safety through visibility, Jenni Arksey Founder of Goose Design, set about researching the new and emerging technologies that could be used to make this possible. The challenge was to create a lightweight and breathable jacket that would improve the safety of the cyclist wearing it and appeal equally to serious cycling enthusiasts, commuters and casual riders, whose schedules drift from day to night, requiring products that work with them in all situations.
“For this cycling jacket, we wanted to move forward and create something flexible that could be worn, washed, damaged, stitched up and thrown into a bag just like any other jacket. We wanted simplicity, style and super functionality.” Jenni Arksey, founder of Goose Design.
The brief gave fruition to the Illum cycling jacket concept. The Illum jacket introduces cutting-edge printed ink technology, as well as the potential for printed rechargeable power, that when combined will not only provide visibility in the form of illumination, but also create a garment that is both safe and fit for purpose.
This innovative wearable tehnology consists of a concept for a self-charging, powered external ‘shell’ made up of individual fabric panels, with properties selected to minimise weight, ensure the wearer remains cool, dry, comfortable and – above all – safe. Visibility comes in the form of a series of printed electroluminescent surface graphics, which produces the light, fitting ergonomically around the anatomy, providing 360° illumination whilst allowing for the flexibility of the use of backpacks and other necessary accessories.
The jacket is activated by a conductive switch, set into the cuff and until printed battery power is available it would powered by a lightweight integrated battery, enabling activation of the lighting via a transparent, printable, conductive layer. A technology that could allow the use of a printable polymer that forms a solar cell, thus when exposed to sunlight, could be used to recharge the battery and ensure the jacket is self-sufficient. Eventually, through dedicated short range communication (DSRC) and global positioning systems (GPS) integration, the Illum jacket could have the potential to alert any driver of a cyclist’s close proximity, especially when they cannot be seen – similar to near-field communication (NFC) technology used by various car brands.
Goose Design is now in discussion with a team of experts to investigate new commercially wearable concepts, investigating the real needs and desires consumers have within this category and looking towards functional, fun and health aspects that really benefit the end user. With the right approach and investment, Goose hopes to create more concepts like this and become a major innovation player in the next generation of Wearables.