The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has an exhibit dedicated to wearable technology—smart clothing and devices designed to extend the human body’s capabilities for health, strength, and safety. The exhibit featured three novelties that have the potential to enhance safety while on a bike.
Hovding Helmet - This is an airbag helmet for cyclists first introduced in 2011. You wear the device like a collar and it inflates in 0.1 seconds to cover you head and neck in the event of a crash. The Swedish developers claim an airbag affords 8x the protection of an traditional helmet. The Hovding website has an fantasy video of a cyclist who crashes and has a flashback on all that is important in his life until he realizes he is saved by the airbag. I doubt it is CPSC certified in the US and there are no US distributors listed on their website but it appears to cost about $300.
The Pix backpack – This customizable LED backpack uses a battery powerbank and a phone application to customize the 16x20 resolution LED screen to display images, animations, widgets, play games, or create your own designs on the outside of the pack. The backpack fabric is water-repellent so suitable for outdoor wear on a bike. The illuminated, flashing designs are sure to attract attention and make a cyclist more visible on the road. About $260 online.
Trucker jacket by Levis with Jacquard by Google technology – This classic denim jacket tweeked by Google engineers claims to enhance safety by enabling a cyclist to keep eyes on the road but still stay connected to access directions, listen to messages, or advance to the next song in a playlist by tapping the fabric. The first version was introduced 2 years ago and included woven Jacquard threads in the sleeve. It was updated late last year and now incorporates a Jacquard Bluetooth module in a slot in the cuff and a small Jacquard fabric weave inside the cuff on the left sleeve. The jacket is washable and is powered by micro USB. Cost of the updated jacket is about $200.
Sharon Kaminecki comments on adventures in bicycling and other stories