By Andrew Liszewski
From the DIY department comes this novel safety vest designed by Brady Clark and engineered by Mykle Hansen which shows the rider’s current speed in MPH on the back using electroluminescent wiring.
The system consists of a wheel speed sensor, a wearable numeric display and a small computer that does the thinking. The computer is an Arduino: an open-source embedded computing platform powered by an Amtel microcontroller. It runs for 6 hours on a 9 volt battery…
The numeric display is made from electro-luminescent wire, supplied to us by CooLight.com. El-wire glows brightly when supplied with a very small amount of high voltage, high-frequency current. It’s cheap, flexible and fairly durable. One AA battery can power the SpeedVest display for up to 6 hours.
While I can understand the obvious safety benefits of wearing a reflective vest while riding a bike, I’m not so sure that displaying your current MPH on the back with cool light-up wiring is as good an idea. As I understand it the biggest threat to bikers on the road is cars, and it seems this vest provides yet another dangerous distraction for drivers. (“Hey! Did you see that? I think that guy’s vest lights up! Let me slow down to take a closer look.” etc.)