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National Winner

Project Flock

By using biomotion through illuminating the moving legs of a cyclist, the Project Flock bike light enables other road users to recognize a cyclist far sooner than conventional bike lights

  • Project Flock Bike Light out for road testing in Melbourne, Australia. (2019)

  • Video showing the problem, the Project Flock solution, working prototypes and research methods used.

    Video showing the problem, the Project Flock solution, working prototypes and research methods used.

  • By feeding CAD screenshots into digital sketches meant ideations could be generated rapidly. (2019)

  • The enclosure design for the Project Flock Bike Light went through 11 major iterations. (2019)

  • A close-up shot of the Project Flock Bike Light fitted to a saddle. (2019)

  • Enclosure design using multiple print technologies, custom made PCB 'shield' and LEDs. (2019)

What it does

One way to ease cyclist fatalities and injuries is being more 'conspicuous'. The Project Flock bike light illuminates the moving legs of the cyclist. Other road users will recognise the cyclist sooner because they see a HUMAN, not a flashing red light.

Your inspiration

Safety is one of the biggest obstacles for many people wanting to ride their bikes. In order to move towards more sustainable modes of transportation and micro-mobility, the issue of safety needs to be meaningfully addressed. Each year, an average of almost 40 cyclists are killed and more than 1,000 suffer high-threat-to life injuries on Australian public roads. Of these numbers, 86% of cyclist fatalities involve a rear impact from a motor vehicle. Through my research, I arrived at a question I wanted to address through design, ''Why can't the first thing we see be a Cyclist, not a flashing light?"

How it works

The primary focus for this product is making the cyclist the first thing other road users see, not a bike light. The Project Flock Light consists of a range of compact, high powered LEDs that project light onto the rider’s moving legs (Biomotion Lighting), the ground (Safety Envelope Lighting) and a rear-facing element. Research has proven that the concept of ‘biomotion’, whereby moving parts of the rider are highlighted, is far more effective in making cyclists more noticeable to other road users. By using IoT technology and smart sensors inside the Project Flock Light, the 'Adaptive Lighting Engine' adjusts lighting output automatically to be as noticeable as possible whether it's on a shared path or a busy road. The Flock Light effortlessly changes and reacts to its environment so the user is highly noticeable without startling or blinding other road users in the process.

Design process

Project Flock began in early 2019 and continues as a startup working towards the release of the first version to paying customers. After reviewing cycling safety literature, in-depth research of bicycle rear taillights was conducted to gain more insight into their performance indicators. This learning was underpinned by reviewing other related projects, practitioners and trends. I also gained inspiration for the fields of Visual Perception, Light Projection and analysed the application of technologies like IoT and AI to this project. I engaged with users through different channels including interviews, an online user survey and a co-design workshop. From this Inspiration phase, a design challenge and design criteria were defined. The project was now made up of 2 main components, a technical challenge and a user challenge. I devised a design narrative as a guiding vision for the project. For the ideation and implementation stages, I used defined development cycles. This enabled me to iterate through 11 prototype versions. Each development cycle was fed by insights gained from further user connection and testing. Through collaborating with an Electronic Engineer, this project was able to produce multiple working prototypes and keep the final prototype as compact as possible.

How it is different

All popular bicycle lighting systems focus on improving the visibility of the bicycle light itself. Our brains only notice a bike light on a sensory or 'objective' level. Through technology advances, they are becoming overly powerful where they actually have an adverse effect, by startling and blinding other road users. The big problem with bike lights today is they all miss a fundamental need and that's to make the cyclist the first thing road users see! The human form in motion is more recognisable to our brains than a flashing light because we have a more 'cognitive' and 'EMOTIONAL' reaction to it. Not only do we recognise it more deeply, we see it far sooner. It's called Biomotion and it's what the Project Flock bike light uses so that cyclists can be seen sooner and be seen as HUMAN.

Future plans

We are very close to launching the first product for sale to early adopters. We plan to measure and learn rapidly from this and work towards a crowdfunding campaign. Recently Project Flock was admitted into LaunchHUB, a 12-week accelerator program run by RMIT Activator. The Project Flock team and I are hoping to learn how to get traction in our respective market and build a following so we can have a strong crowdfunding campaign. Project Flock wants to be here well into the future, we want to learn and take steps to make sure we lay good foundations for the business to be resilient and financially sustainable.


Student Runner-up Core77 Design Award 2020 (Sports & Recreation Category)

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