Bike safety reimagined for the city

There tends to a lot of fear associated with riding a bicycle in the city.  Beginner level riders aren’t the only ones to fear the shared roads. Experts will tend to admit riding alongside vehicles can be frightening at certain times.  Everyone that has rode a bike before has likely had a close call with a vehicle at some point in their life, may that have been a door opening or a driver not seeing you. You can be the most experienced rider in the world but that does not make you invulnerable to the hustle and bustle of the everyday commuter. Bike lanes can only do so much in providing safety for a rider, it really is only a strip of paint on some roads insuring you have adequate space to ride alongside vehicles.  I’m not saying it’s time to pack up the bike and go ride in the country side to be safe I just believe there could be a better way to insure everyone gets from point A to point B safely.

Everyone knows how efficient google maps can be for navigating the roads and also monitoring up-to-date traffic flow.  If google is already monitoring the roads and collecting the data on where vehicles travel it would be a perfect interface to piggyback this app idea off of.

The app in mind is one that can detour riders to their destination by routing them away from roads that tend to have the most vehicle traffic. It’s meant to show you the side streets that you never knew were there, or show you routes off the beaten path that will get you to your destination in almost the same time that you could have using the main road. It can act as a guide for when you just wish to go out for an evening ride, or can let you plan your route ahead of time and even navigate you on the go.  Vehicles traveling at high speeds can be very intimidating for riders so why not take that variable out of the equation entirely.  This app is meant to safely separate those who choose to bike, and those who choose to drive.

In Vancouver we frequently see the issue of people who tend to drive, battle with those who wish to ride.  It can be an ugly situation at times and is something that bike lanes have attempted to resolve. However, bike lanes are only a micro solution to a major issue.  Bikers must navigate amongst four thousand pound vehicles and it’s easy see why that can intimidate people out of riding to work, or for leisure.  Think about how this can benefit tourists as well, they can opt to safely ride a bike to see the city, which will get them out of traffic and afford them greater distance of travel compared to walking.  The app may also benefit city districts by offering them an insight into where bikers will travel allowing them to possibly better the signage along those roads as well as building more infrastructure to ensure rider safety.

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Vehicles + wind monitors = safer roads

Ever been driving on an open road and suddenly had your vehicle pushed out of the lane? This happened to me as I was driving through Seattle. I was driving on the highway going about 110km/h when the crosswind pushed my vehicle into the next lane over, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. That was a big eye opener for me, I realized just how much of an effect the elements can have on a vehicle.  I was fortunate that there were no vehicles in the lanes next to me or else there would have been a huge accident. Future drivers may not be as lucky. If only there were a way of warning drivers about dangerous crosswinds.

 

I was watching the golf channel one day and noticed someone holding up a device before each golfer would shoot, I realized it was a wind monitor.  Then the idea hit me, why not combine the wind reader used on the golf course and put it inside vehicles to give drivers more knowledge about the conditions outside of the car.  Giving drivers another monitoring system when out on the road can be crucial for safety, and would give the driver more confidence on the open road.

 

I’m picturing a crosswind monitoring system that is colour gauged, with green meaning good conditions, yellow being strong, and red being severe winds.  This method would allow for easy visual comprehension.  If you have any other methods in mind that would help notify the driver of wind conditions, feel free to drop a comment.

 

Devices like the one I’m describing can be one of the many functions of the future vehicle. As cars get smarter each year and utilize better warning systems this could be another one to add to the list. Other useful purposes for this device would be wind mapping, now that cars are becoming more like computers wind data could be transmitted to a database which monitors wind throughout a province or state.  The more information you can compile the safer the roads will be.

 

Stay warm with this tech concept

 

Winter can be a dreaded time of year for many.  The sun barely hangs in the sky, the cold lingers, and dressing warm can be a burden depending on what plans you have for the day.  We all tend to rely on layers of clothing as our main way of keeping warm during the winter months, clearly not much other than fabric has changed over the last thousand years.  I think it’s time technology is fully utilized to create an easy to carry heating system for everyone.

One of the main reasons I want to create something that can be used to heat the body is because of how easy it is to start freezing in the cold once you stop moving. I came to realize that in today’s world people are constantly on the go, and if you layer up for the outdoors and are constantly hopping on and off of public transit it’s easy to underestimate how much clothing it takes to keep warm. There is also the fact not many people aren’t willing to overestimate how much clothing they wear to keep warm because they don’t want to have to carry that item if they get too. Then there are those who are exposed to the elements day in and day out, and having been one of them for a few years it became apparent clothing can only do so much when it comes to keeping warm throughout the entire day.

These days we don’t see many warming technologies, one that comes to mind is the pocket hand warmer. They do a great job at temporarily warming your hands but when you want to keep the body warm those just aren’t enough.  I know that there is a battery powered heated jacket, it tends to run a high price and have mixed reviews.

My concept is to create a hand cuff like device which can blow warm air.  A device which can be cuffed to any sized wrists that acts like a small blow dryer producing enough heat to blow up your arms and towards your core.  This device would work wonders for warming people on the go, it would be battery powered with an on/off function allowing people to control when they want the heat.  It will allow the person to lose one or two layers of clothing and on rainy days it would work wonders underneath a rain coat.  The heat cuff would keep the extremities warm as it can be clipped to both your arms or legs and by warming the limbs it will keep the blood flowing throughout the body. The more blood the blood circulates the warmer you will be.  Inside the device could be a heating coil or wire which can have an adjustable temperature setting, along with that would be two micro fans which could push the warm air out of the device.

When it comes to those who may benefit from such a device the list may very well be endless.  My immediate thoughts are that it can be used by the elderly on a daily basis as they tend to get colder quicker than the younger generations. The device can help hikers have a reserve heating system in case they come across bad weather or low temperatures. Those in the construction industry working in the outdoors will have a device that can warm them when they need it.  Having an on/off function allows them to turn it off when they are working harder preventing them from overheating. Parents watching their kids play sports in the outdoors can have this device on them along with their coffees to keep them warm.

The future for a device like this could be endless as it could be coupled with a watch like feature, or a FitBit.  The goal is to get a device out for the winter, and maybe one day see one come out for the summer months that is like a portable fan attached to your wrist to keep you cool.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and seeing some of your designs!