As a cyclist, I’ve often wondered why more bikes don’t have signal lights, so cars would know when a rider is about to turn. It seems an obvious safety feature, but they aren’t always practical and can get stolen. And many people chose not to cycle in the first place because they are afraid of the roads (and the cars careening on them).
A new company aims to make turn signals a much simpler, more secure, and cooler safety feature with a pair of bike gloves that have blinking LED lights inside them.
The lights can be turned on easily by the rider simply pushing his index finger or thumb together and activating a contact pad. The product, called Zackees, will cost $59 for early backers on the Kickstarter campaign that launched today, and $69 regularly. It can support a rechargeable battery or use a long lasting non-rechargeable one along with battery-saving features.
There is a history of trying to execute similar ideas, says Zach Vorhies, the former Google engineer and hobbyist LED tinkerer who left his job to work on the glove idea. One patent for bike turn lights dates back to 1912, and there was even an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for something called the YouTurn glove in 2011.
However, these ideas failed because the designs were always bulky and impractical, he says. Vorhies, instead, worked with a friend who is a New York fashion designer to create the product, as you can hear more about in the video above. In fact, the idea for a product stemmed for an entire LED runway fashion line the pair collaborated on in 2010 and 2011 (other designs included the Hydropak–a backpack that glowed).
If successfully funded, the gloves will continue to be available for purchase online. Next, Vorhies says he’ll be eyeing future bike-related products and clothing that have embeddable electronics. One idea a speaker box that is integrated into a backpack, so people don’t wear headphones while riding.
His ideas hint not just at the future of cycling gear, but also possibly the future of fashion–as you can see in the fashion line he created below.