Our project aims to enhance safety for bikers and runners that are often much less visible than other transporters on the road. While lights, reflective clothing, and even some basic signaling apparel exist in the market today, none of these solutions allow for users to convey their intentions naturally using gestures. We believe that by overcomplicating the interface by which users indicate their intentions could actually lead to rider distraction and decreased safety. Instead, we hope to provide an intuitive UX that piggybacks off of natural hand and arm motions and uses inferences made based on the user’s motion to control the signalling lights. This safety apparel will increase users’ visibility and make their intentions and motion clear to others on the road.
Our solution is to create a custom jacket fitted with omnidirectional lights located on the back, chest and arms that can be used to create turn signals, a brake indicator, and other signals such as ‘pass’, ‘yield’, etc. By fitting each sleeve with and IMU to manage arm movements, along with a third IMU on the torso used to track the motion of the user’s body, we will be able to detect simple gestures made using the users’ arms, which will then trigger the lights on the jacket to light up and blink in accordance with the users intent.
Gesture Identification - This module handles the logic for interfacing between the other components used in the prototype and converting a user’s motion and gestures into outputs that are visible to others in the vicinity via the LED array. We plan to use something along the lines of an Atmel MCU to ingest data from the IMU sensors and decipher motions such as each arm being waved, raised, or lowered. Additionally, we can automatically detect turns, harsh events, and other rider actions that can be used to perform actions such as turn off signals, activate a high-visibility mode, or even (stretch goal) contact the authorities via a connection to the user’s phone
Accelerometer -- This unit will focus on the acceleration and direction of the user, determining when the user is slowing down and speeding up and sends data and signals to the LED microcontroller and display a large red light for others to see.
LED Array - This module will implement a simple microcontroller that handles the outputs of the separate microcontroller logic unit and displays the current action correspondingly on the LEDs. For example, when we receive that there will be a Right turn, the gesture identification microcontroller will use IMU sensors in order to see if a right turn has been signaled. Once determined, the gesture will be sent over to the LED Array microcontroller, which powers the appropriate LEDs.
Criterion for Success
Our project has a number of high level goals that need to be met in order to achieve an increased safety and satisfaction of our users.
- All lights and symbols must be easily visible by all others.
- Right Turn Signal, Left Turn signal, Brake light, etc
- All lights respond accordingly to the proper hand signals for turns
- The product must be simple to use while Biking, Running, Skateboarding, Scootering, etc.
- The product must be easy to set up and simple to put on for ease of access. Usage of the product is seamless.