Looking for new ways to proactively improve safety for road cyclists, POC created an in-house team, called POC Aid, to explore the use of digital technology. For its initial project, POC teamed up with Light-Flex Technology to find ways to integrate their printed lights into cycling apparel. The Swedish company believes that passive high-vis and reflectivity in your bike gear are simply not enough to prevent accidents, but instead a more active approach needs to be taken.
Established just this year, Light-Flex Technology creates lighting technology for use in what they call active-light wearables. The Light-Flex printed lights can be incorporated into pretty much any garment–the lights don’t generate heat, produce between 150 and 250 lux, are durable, lightweight, flexible, washable, and operate in a wide range of temperatures. The lighting can be printed in a variety of shapes, including logos or lettering, to create just about any visual effect you want. To start, Light-Flex has been printing its active-light technology into running wear, but now POC hopes to bring it to cycling in the Lightvest–still a prototype at this stage.
Johan Weman, responsible for digital business at POC, says, “The luminous vest we are developing is currently under testing as part of POC proto, which is where we explore and evaluate new technologies, visions, and solutions. Currently the implementation is in the prototype stage, and over the following months we will continue with our extensive tests to optimize the system together with Light-Flex Technology, but we are really motivated by the possibilities we are uncovering.”
I would be curious to see if the printed lights would be more effective when placed or designed in a way to alert drivers that you are a cyclist–similar to the theory behind Pearl Izumi’s new Bio Viz collection and the strategic placement of reflectivity. Just adding a blob of light to your back may not be enough to increase your safety. Either way, I look forward to seeing the POC Lightvest in person at Interbike today.