Promoting safety has been a creative muse for marketers and has led to award-winning ideas such as Volvo's "Life Paint." Vodafone Netherlands makes a new entry into the genre with "The Smart Jacket," outerwear that prevents cyclists from using their mobile phones when riding while also acting as a routing guide and a safety "sign" that allows those traveling around the riders to move with caution.
Vodafone teamed with Technical University Delft and the Dutch Cyclist Association to create the jacket, which connects with bikers' smartphones. Cyclists map out their route on a map app and then tuck their phones into a special pocket, which uploads the route and transmits it to a built-in Raspberry Pi device hooked up to 300 built-in LEDs. Lights on the jacket sleeves direct the traveler along the best route to take while more on the back alert drivers around him to where he's heading.
The idea should prove especially useful in Amsterdam, where according to research from the brand and the Dutch Cyclist Association, about 40% of bike riders use phones while on the road.
Sabine van Loon, head of consumer services at Vodafone noted in a brand statement, "In the field of mobility a lot of innovations have been developed. Think about the self-driving car, taxi-apps or the mobile chip card for public transport. As a company we are constantly looking for ways to use mobile technology in a way that it improves life, in this case focusing on cycling."
The idea is currently being tested on the field, after which Delft Technical University will continue to develop it.
For another example of clothing made with mobile users in mind, check out Party New York's clothing line for Trident, designed to help people "focus" on the world around them.