The tech be­hind the bike jacket that taps you on the shoul­der to warn of im­mi­nent dan­ger

Vi­brat­ing jacket brings new elec­tric bike to life


Rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle is a vis­ceral ex­pe­ri­ence that stems from the feel­ing and sound de­liv­ered by a petrol en­gine. But what if your ve­hi­cle’s mo­tor lacks any vi­bra­tions and your bike is eerily silent? You need to cre­ate an el­e­ment of stim­u­la­tion to al­low the rider to get im­mersed in the new rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “Within our Origin jacket, we have de­vel­oped the world’s first mo­tor­cy­cle hap­tic sys­tem that links to the Vec­tor mo­tor­cy­cle to pro­vide com­mu­ni­ca­tion via touch,” ex­plains Ol­lie Evans, Arc’s COO. “Hap­tic is an in­ter­ac­tion that in­volves touch. It’s the sen­sa­tion when your phone buzzes to alert you rather than when you see or hear it ring. Be­cause an elec­tric bike lacks the feed­back you get on a petrol bike, we’ve built a hap­tic al­ter­na­tive, which we call Hu­man Ma­chine In­ter­face: HMI.”

Arc have worked with Bri­tish ar­mour experts Knox to amal­ga­mate eight hap­tic trans­duc­ers into a back pro­tec­tor in­side the jacket. These de­vices are ef­fec­tively small ver­sions of an au­dio speaker en­cased in a rub­ber sur­round. Linked to the bike via WiFi, each sen­sor is tuned in­di­vid­u­ally through a wide range of fre­quen­cies to cor­re­spond to a cer­tain mes­sage that the bike is alert­ing the rider to or even to re­lay rid­ing feed­back.

“The Vec­tor has a range of sen­sors that can be pro­grammed to re­spond in a va­ri­ety of ways and make one, all or any pat­tern we want of the mod­ules in the jacket vi­brate in any fre­quency,” ex­plains Evans. “If you have the indicator on it may pulse gen­tly on that side to alert you, whereas the blindspot de­tec­tor will cause the vi­bra­tions to get more in­tense the closer the ob­ject is to the back of the bike. It will start with a tap on the base of your spine and then work its way up your back and the speed it moves and the in­ten­sity of the vi­bra­tion re­lates to the speed the other ve­hi­cle is ap­proach­ing.”

The sys­tem also has a three modes: Ur­ban, Sports and Eu­phoric. with Eu­phoric al­low­ing you to ‘feel’ mu­sic via the jacket in the form of bass through the sen­sors. Ac­cord­ing to Arc, the use of hap­tic sys­tem frees up other senses, al­low­ing the rider to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence more and re­duce dis­trac­tions. “We have sim­ply re­designed the feed­back lan­guage be­tween the mo­tor­cy­cle and rider to take into ac­count an elec­tric mo­tor’s lack of noise and vi­bra­tions,” con­cludes Evans.

‘The blindspot de­tec­tor gives you a tap on the back’ OL­LIE EVANS, ARC MO­TOR­CY­CLES

The Vec­tor takes elec­tric bikes to another level

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