Reimagining Bicycle Safety Gear

  • For most people, bicycle gear is either fashionable or functional. The Turn Signal Patch aimed to bridge this gap, helping people be safe on a bicycle with something that people could wear while at the same time being fashionable.

    Coming into the studio, both team members knew how to do programing, but first they had to learn how to sew. This was made by making a magnetic wristband, to keep sewing needles from scattering. Sometime while doing this, they settled on the idea of making blinking arrows. These could be put on a shirt and used as turn signals for bikers. In two days they made a working model of an arrow.

    However, something went wrong. When the arrow was turned on, the lights only lit up in a weak red color. The fault was eventually traced to a faulty soldering connection somewhere, but there were over 30 soldering connections, and it was impossible to tell where the fault was. They ended up having to resolder all the connections. After that, a replica was made to go on the other side, and a pouch was made to hold both arrows. ,That ended up having its own problems: somehow, a pair of pliers got sewn into the fabric. After 45 minutes of trying to untangle the pliers, the team decided to just cut the wires and try again.

    After that, the lights were quickly programmed to work with 2 switches, and it ended up working. Had we had more time, we might have sewn it into a shirt, but for now, it worked, and that's more then most projects here can say.

  • The Patch consisted of two arrows. The arrows consisted of LED strips placed under fabric, covered by clear buttons that diffused the light. The result was that when the LED strips were powered, an arrow would light up.  There were 2 arrows, and both of them were connected to switches that turned them on and off. The result was two flashing turn signals that could be turned on and off at will. If you had the ability to program you would be able to change the colors if you wanted.

  • When I was coming up with an idea of what I wanted to do in the studio, I knew right away I wanted to make a jacket during the time we were given to brainstorm on the first day I drew different jacket ideas. Which were a zombie theme like jacket that on the back would have “flesh torn” and a “spine” exposed which would of light up with LEDs along with some fiber optic tubes that would represent veins. One idea consisted of a Dead Space theme jacket which is a videogame that has an engineering suit that is made of pieces of metal and a long light along the person’s spine that in the game was used to determine the person’s health with lights and different colors. The third idea which became the one idea I settled on was a metal head jacket that would have different stencil designs like of a skull, pentagrams, anarchy signs, images that a lot of people would see that relates to the metal music genre. The jacket would also have spikes on the shoulders that would light up and operate like a car blinker so people will know that the biker is turning.

    During the course of the first week I decided to create the stencil designs that would go on the jacket I settled on creating a pentagram stencil and anarchy stencil. I created the stencils on Google sketch-up, and then the files were exported to a laser cutter which cut the designs out. During that time my studio learned of reflective fabric that looks normal in regular light but if bright lights such as headlights from a car or a camera flash were to hit it the material would glow very bright. There was also reflective spray paint that works the same way as the fabric. When I was done with the stencils I did some testing with reflective spray paint using one of my stencils. The outcome of the testing was the paint works very well so I decided to have the stencils be painted with the spray paint when I have a jacket to work with. Near the end of the week I was given a partner that was out for a while and was her first day back to Nuvu. Her name is Maddie and she became a big help in terms of helping me accomplishing things that needed to be sew since my skills with sewing are a bit shaky at  times.

    The both of us started looking for a jacket which was decided on a denim jacket. We also got feedback on how to improve the design in terms of making it fashionable. Instead of the spikes lighting up the spikes will be made of reflective material stuffed with cotton. As well as adding LEDs to the lower back of the jacket. We spray painted the stencils on patches that would be sewed onto the back and front of the jacket. We cut out pieces of reflective fabric and made shoulder patches that got sewed on and laser cut the fabric into conical shape that can be sewed to look like a spike. Once this was down and the shoulder patches were on the jacket we stuffed the spikes and sewed them on the patches. For the LEDs I already laser cut seven holes for the LEDs to shine through. For powering the LEDs I took a patch of denim and sewed in a arduino lily pad that is designed to be sewn into clothing. I also had a rechargeable battery which will power the arduino. For the programing aspect I programed the lights to be red and can be turn on and off by a switch that is on the arduino. For the issue with connecting the LEDs to the arduino instead of using wires I used conductive thread that works the same as wire which gives the power from the Arduino to the lights. We finally then and there put everything together the design patches were sewed on as well as the spikes. The patch that houses the arduino, battery, and the LEDs were sewed on the inside of the jacket that will be easy to access to switch the lights on and off as well as being able to get the battery so it can be recharged.

  • Cklara, the Safety First Robotic Flower
    Safely Reflecting beauty, one cyclist at a time.

    Cklara has been designed to be a safety aid accessory for a cyclist.  It is a designed to open and close in a slow manner; this adds an animated effect while also yielding additional time to grab more spectators’ attention.  The final product is made of Lexan, and moves via a single Arduino and Servo, along with multiple segments of fishing line.  The base has a layer of electrical tape on the outside, thus creating a smoothed, yet secure, texture to the box.  Both the shape of the flower and the base, were moulded by hand.

    The flower’s movement was inspired by the mechanics of muscle.  Muscles can only do two things, contract and relax, and it are these functions that make everyday movement possible.  So while experimenting with various techniques of movement, I came to the decision it was the most accurate and clean way to make the flower move like a muscle.  There are multiple segments of fishing line attached to each petal, that are then connected to an arm on the Servo.  The Servo is connected to a previously programmed Arduino, which is then connected to a battery pack.  The base is a cube shape, with one side that is able to open and close for easy access to the Servo, Arduino and bottom of the flower.  This battery pack then in tucked away into a pocket below Cklara.  The cyclist has been imagined to secure the base, using the three large safety pins, onto his or her backpack.

    All of Cklara is decorated with various forms of spray paint.  The petals have multiple layers of day-glow, florescent pink, spray paint; along with two layers of reflective spray paint.  This way the petals have a day-glow effect, while also being useful when the light from headlights hit the accessory.  The base, that has a layer of black electrical tape, and on top of that is a small misting of day-glow, florescent pink, spray paint; along with reflective spray paint.  This way even the base will reflect.  

    On top of the elaborate safety paint applied to Cklara, there was also a UV LED added to the centre of the main flower.  It is angled to illuminate the inside of the flower for three reasons.  First, to add more illumination on the cyclist, second to illuminate the florescent pink even more, and thirdly, it is angled in such a way that the, highly optical sensitive, UV LED does not get into fellow road patron’s vision and skew their line of sight.  It is important to keep everyone safe on the roads.  

    Remember, cyclists are everywhere.

     

     

  • Prototyping:
    Cklara was constructed with much trial and error.  At first I had toyed with the idea that a group last term had used with their robotic flower.  However, this was not going to work because of how they ran the fishing line to the servos.  Then, I researched online another robotic flower.  This was the closest of the prototypes to work the way we wanted it to, however it required a large number of servos and an advanced experience with servos and flower petals. Both of which I do not have.  Then after some very stressful brainstorming, the idea of muscles came into my mind.  Although muscles are what we use everyday to make the most intricate and refined movements, they actually only can do two things:  contract and relax.  It is a multitude of variations of these two operations that make up our refined movements.  However, I did not need the flower to be as intricate as, say a human hand, but it did need to somehow contract and relax to make the petals open and close.  And, within an afternoon of much trial and error, I had my final prototype.

     

    Computer Design:
    In today’s society, it very “forward thinking” to go by The Three R’s: Recycle, Reduce & Reuse.   Taking this to heart, I was advised to use a petal design that was created from a previous studio.  However, this design was done in some foreign computer system.  This brought on a full day of software downloading, file conversion, and Laser-Printing testing.  I ended up downloading two new (and rather “heavy duty”) 3D modelling softwares, and converting multiple files between SketchUp, Adobe Illustrator CS5.1, Rhinoceros, uploading these files on the NuVu Cloud, and then checking them on the Laser Printer software.  Finally, after much struggle, I was able to get the design I wanted, in the formatted the Laser needed.  And although this was one of the most stressful NuVu days to-date,  it was incredibly educational.  I left NuVu that day, not only happy with my design, but having a much deeper understanding for the Laser Printer, its software, and the concept of 3D design software.

     

    Construction:
    The final flower and base are constructed out of a material called, Lexan.  After the prototyping struggles, the actual construction of the final product was not very mind taxing.  It was more intense attention to great detail and waiting for the paint layers (1 Primer layer, 2-3 Pink layers, 1-2 Florescent layer[s]) to dry. The bright pink petals on Cklara were spray painted with a florescent pink base, then coated with misting layers of a transparent reflective spray paint. Next, the base; the base’s colour came about by accident actually.  It was originally constructed by just laser printing and a few strands of electrical tape, however, through construction it was found that it would look more “polished” if it was covered in a single layer of black electrical tape. Being that the electrical tape is black, the base does not have a day-glow effect, however it was lightly misted with florescent pink paint and followed up with a heavier layer of transparent reflective spray paint. Thus giving it its own glowing attributes.  

     

    Remember, Safety First!

  • This project was based on creating an intersection between safety and fashion in the world of biking gear. Although bicycles are an environmentally friendly, trendy form of transportation, they have their challenges. The lack of security surrounding a bicycle in the event of a crash leads many bikers to wear reflective clothing in order to be easily visible to oncoming traffic. The fashionable options for reflecitve clothing, however, are not currently plentiful. In order to keep biking popular and attractive, designers need to find a way to make reflective clothing attractive and fun, as well as wearable in other situations (ex: going to work after a biking commute).

    In this studio, we worked to create a cool denim vest that would appeal to fans of heavy metal rock, as well as some accesories for it such as a bracelet. Complete with spikes and blood-red symbols, our vest appears to be an attractive, hip outerwear option for casual settings. The top-notch biking safety features hidden all over the Jakcet are less obvious. The spikes are actually made from reflective material that glows brightly when lit by a headlight, and the row of lights powered by a hidden arduino are an excellent way to be seen from far away on the road.

  • If we could change one thing about the pants, it would be to have started with a different pair of jeans.  Since the jeans were skinny, we could not roll them up as high as we had hoped.  Also, they were hard to get off with the extra layer of fabric.  If we had more time on the project, we would make a do it yourself kit, or a "how to" guide to teach people how to make the pants.

    We're both really proud of the pants and belt.  Both look normal during the day, but they become reflective or lit up at night.  The pants look great, and they are functional.  The biggest thing we learned from making the pants was how to use a sewing machine.  Molly and I both had no prior experience with sewing, and now we feel comfortable with the machine.  Molly and I had also never used an Arduino.  We definitely learned a lot through this studio about both fashion and technology.

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