Designing safer navigation for cyclists
How can we make urban navigation safer and more efficient for cyclists?
Navigate by feel – the fastest way from A to B
Every year 41,000 cyclists die in road traffic-related crashes (WHO) and millions more are injured, so this is an important challenge, especially when you consider the rapid growth in cycle delivery services. Current navigation technologies can be distracting for the cyclist, requiring the user to take their eyes off the road to check the map or use earphones to follow verbal instruction and therefore reduce their auditory sense in busy traffic. We created the perfect solution – VibrisPro, the smart ‘way finding’ glove with integrated haptic navigation.
VibrisPro enables heads-up navigation for the cyclist. Linking with the users’ smartphone maps, VibrisPro provides upcoming directional instruction through a series of haptic pulses located on the back of each hand. To stay safe, high visibility materials and gesture activated LEDs help the cyclist signal to other road users when making a turn.
As we moved through our rapid iterative prototyping process, material testing and exploration ran in parallel to our electronic and technology development. The collaborative process behind this design led to a product that has no compromise on material fit or integrated technology. Materials selected are high performance, comfort fit and include a high visibility print on the outer hand and gel cushioning on the inner palm. The fit and technical performance of the shape itself is aimed at high function use.
Digital user experience
Through wireframing and digital prototyping, we designed an effortless digital interaction to ensure an optimised working day for professional couriers. Users simply accept a job on the app and then navigate intuitively and safely to their destinations using the haptic signals. Temporal haptic patterns were the fastest and most immediate for users to recognise and we distinguished each signal by testing various sequences, intensities and frequencies on various haptic motors. The primary navigational signals simulate rumble strips on roads to naturally direct users to upcoming turns, whereas incoming digital messages are shorter, sharper sequences, clearly differentiating navigation from notification.
VibrisPro can make a significant contribution to cycle safety, as well as providing an innovative navigation solution. We envisaged the Vibris Pro as an API that can plug into any existing delivery service app. It encourages efficiency through a gamified, shared experience of navigation and users can personalise settings such as haptic intensity or haptic start distance. It’s intuitive and joyful to use, looks great and comfortable to wear. Another example of our expertise in designing products where technology meets the human body.