A bright idea
When Ford approached us at the London Bike Show and explained, during a fairly cryptic conversation, that they were launching a pilot cycling project designed to help people and goods move more freely around cities and would we like to collaborate to create a cycling jacket that did just that, we were all for it.
"Ford approached LUMO to create the Smart Jacket because we’ve proven we can combine sleek design with subtly integrated technology, all with the aim of making urban cycling more accessible. The fact that your jacket tells you which direction to turn via haptic wrist vibrations, for example, means cyclists no longer need to take their eyes off the road to check a map, resulting in a far safer ride'" explains Lucy Bairner, LUMO’s Marketing Director.
This jacket is packed full of useful technology for cyclists.
The jacket sleeves light up amber to show when wearers plan to turn right or left, connected via sensors in the arms. Wirelessly connected to a smartphone, the jacket’s bike-friendly navigation app vibrates the appropriate sleeve, so riders know which way to go, using routes that avoid busy roads and junctions.
And there is no need for cyclists to take their eyes off the road or their hands off the handlebars to consult a smartphone screen. Audible and haptic interfaces enable riders to take calls, receive messages and repeat navigation guidance. The jacket also integrates a flashing brake light and a front light, visible up to 400 metres away.
“There is an immediate change in mind-set once there is no longer any need to stop to consult navigation apps directly on your phone – or worry if you’re heading into a particularly busy or dangerous road junction,” said Tom Thompson, Ford’s project lead from the Smart Mobility team who helped to develop the jacket in his spare time.
Our designer’s brief was to make the best performing urban cycling jacket on the market, whilst maintaining the aesthetic of a jacket you could wear walking into an office or bar without ‘looking like a cyclist’.
It’s not just the tech that makes this jacket so impressive, every feature has been carefully thought through to make cycling more comfortable; the fabric is fully waterproof and seam sealed, there are plenty of vents to ensure breathability, waterproof pockets on the front and back, a hidden phone case with a transparent touchscreen on the cuff, a scalloped hood to ensure peripheral vision whilst cycling and reflective trims, to name a few.
For now, the smart jacket prototypes are being tested by a select group of London cyclists with the view to developing it further for large scale bike-driven businesses. The system is customisable too, so if you think this is something that could work for your business, please get in touch.