Thinking Tech

For bicyclists, a T-shirt that can save your life

Posting in Cities

Innovative clothes emblazoned with retroreflective material makes it safer to cruise with your bike at night.

Few things are more relaxing than an evening bicycling ride through the quiet city streets. But it's also the kind of leasure activity that leaves riders dangerously vulnerable to oncoming cars.

To mitigate this risk, a few clever inventors have come up with innovative safety concepts aimed at making riders more visible. There's Revolights, a rim-mounted tube of LED lights that enables bicycle wheels to glow as of way of alerting nearby cars. Also, Emily Brooke, a college student, invented BLAZE, a device that warns drivers of the presence of a rapidly approaching bicycle by projecting a bright green laser image of a bike on to the road ahead.

Now a couple of students at New York University has siezed on the illumination approach and have created a product that's even flashier: T-shirts and sweatshirts emblazoned with retroreflective material. After Alex Vessels and Mindy Tchieu put up prototypes of thier We-Flashy designs on Kickstarter, the idea generated so much interest that donations exceeded the funding goal by nearly double. I'd say you can credit such enthusiasm to the fact that the designs are actually quite stylish and hip. A lot of products geared toward safety treats aesthetics as an afterthought when the reality is that "looks" can be a dealbreaker for a lot of people.

“Most apparel companies using retroreflective elements only use it for small logos or trim. We-Flashy uses a generous amount of ANSI-rated retroreflective material to create entire patterns on our garments,” according to the company website.

Interested shoppers can peruse and place orders at We-Flashy's online shop. Prices range from $55 for customized American Apparel T-shirts to $150 for sweatshirts.

Contributor’s Note: Inspired by the upcoming Holiday season and emails from readers, I will occasionally spotlight and preview innovative game-changing new products that may be the perfect gift for you or someone you know. Subscribe to the RSS news feed or SmartPlanet’s newsletter for news and updates on more smart products.

Contributor’s Note: Inspired by the Holiday season and emails from readers, I will occasionally spotlight and preview innovative game-changing new products that may be the perfect gift for you or someone you know. Subscribe to the RSS news feed or SmartPlanet’s newsletter for news and updates on more smart products.

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure