Electroluminescent Signaling Glove for Urban Cycling

by Sandra Chavarro

#StudioIndustrialDesign #Master-Thesis

The increased use of the bicycle in the urban environment nowadays demands the development of user-centered design alternatives for traffic signaling devices to enhance the cycling experience at night and ensure safety conditions during nighttime traffic.

Crossroads and two way-streets are the scenario of most urban cycling accidents. The main tool for cyclists to communicate a left or right turn is by the use of hand signaling which is mostly effective during daytime. As visibility is reduced at nighttime, hand signals can be easily missed out of the view spectrum of car drivers. External factors like bad weather conditions and bad driving habits also have an influence on accidentality in urban cycling.

Textiles are trendsetters. They are already changing the way we relate to objects, spaces, and people in new and smarter ways to improve our life quality. On a basic wearability approach of signaling devices, the integration of clips allows the accessory to be fasten to garments of portable accessories (bags, backpacks, belts). Some of these devices are conceived as initiatives to increase the use of bicycles in cities and reduce the vehicle traffic.

Attachable and detachable possibilities in a fast way are a main subject for the signaling device market positioning. The most common way to do this is with a Velcro solution that allows the device to be firmly held in its place. Signaling devices with wearability potential must be placed at an eye-level, to (i) assure the perception of the device from the motor vehicles view angle and (ii) to enhance the importance of bike lanes for cyclist’s protection on congested roads, defining clear boundaries between motor vehicles and cyclists.

Sandra Chavarro's «SIGNEL» integrates an electroluminescent signaling area that follows the physiognomy of the hand. A textile switch placed on the forefinger sends an signal to the electroluminescent driver to activate a flashing turn signal.

The project has been awarded the Red Dot Award for Design Concepts 2014.


Prof. Werner Baumhakl

, Institute Industrial Design

Christoph Froehlich

, Senior Designer, adidas originals

Prof. Dr. Ralf Trachte

, Institute Industrial Design