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VibriSee borrows designs from nature to promote to promote safety on the road

If you don’t feel safe on your bike in the city, there’s only one answer: equip your bike with VibriSee flexible, illuminated whiskers.

You what? Read on, it’ll all become clear.

VibriSee is a product developed by students from California State University Long Beach and entered in the Biomimicry Student Design Challenge. This Challenge, open to students worldwide, asks students ‘to work collaboratively in teams to apply biomimicry concepts and tools to arrive at a sustainable and innovative design solution’.

Biomimicry, as you might be able to work out if you don’t already know, is a science that studies nature’s models and then uses/adapts the designs and processes to tackle human problems.

According to the designers, the VibriSee’s luminescent tendrils ‘exponentially increase visibility of the cyclists both day and night through a combination of both fluorescent bands and stripes of emitted light’.

The four whiskers can also change their configuration, allowing the cyclists to signal their intentions.

And finally, VibriSee allows the rider to indicate their spatial zone by flaring their whiskers and flashing warning colors.

The students say, “VibriSee is more than just a solution, it has the potential to transform the world of commuting by empowering the average cyclist with solutions straight from nature.”

They interviewed members of the Long Beach bicycle community and determined three main concerns relating to cycle safety: communication of a rider’s intentions, day and night visibility, and allocation of lane space when sharing the road.

The students identified several animals they believe to have evolved attributes with the potential to solve these concerns: peacocks, ctenophores, and rodents.

What do you mean, you don’t know what ctenophores are? Ctenophores (or ctenophora) are comb jelly marine animals. Still struggling? They’re swimming things that often possess bioluminescence. Still no? They can glow.

With that in mind, the students developed the fluorescent VibriSee whiskers that can glow and flash to help get you seen, allow you to convey your movement intentions, and flare outwards to signal the amount of space you require, the idea being to discourage motorists from attempting to cut you off.

Here’s the video to promote the project.

Biomimicry Challenge: VibriSee from Channing Shattuck on Vimeo.

Reckon this product is the cat's whiskers? Or is it a dead duck?

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

29 comments

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bikebot [1925 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh, just sod off!

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bikebot [1925 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh, just sod off!

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congokid [263 posts] 2 years ago
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bikebot wrote:

Oh, just sod off!

LOL

'Just popping down to the shops for a bag of sugar, dear...

'Brake check, check...

'Lights, check...

'Helmet, check...

'High vis, check...

'Whiskers...?....FFS'

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finbar [127 posts] 2 years ago
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"‘exponentially increase visibility"

Proportional to what? Speed? Darkness? Surely they can only increase visibility by a definite, finite amount.

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Argos74 [393 posts] 2 years ago
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Words. I can't find the words. Halp.

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themartincox [500 posts] 2 years ago
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Crazy, but cars may well think twice about getting too close just due to the sheer 'WTF is that?' factor!

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cbrndc [20 posts] 2 years ago
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Not sure if having this extending beyond the width of the vehicle is legal. Anyone know?  7

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vbvb [600 posts] 2 years ago
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This might win, so long as there are no cyclists in the judging panel to point out the idiocy.

My fave biomimicry cycling thing is the Trotify clip clop coconut hooves hooked into the front wheel. http://www.trotify.com/

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fatbeggaronabike [815 posts] 2 years ago
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Can't wait to put them on bike then whip the pedestrians on the pavement as I go past.  24

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nuttyxander [8 posts] 2 years ago
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Well that's going to be REALLY popular on the narrow segregated 2-way bike tracks like Torrington Place and shared use Sustrans paths in the UK, isn't it?

"why did you just whack my dog in the face?"
"oh, it's a safety thing"

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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I can't wait for them to get caught in someone's spokes.

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Sara_H [58 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm going to wear them on my head at all times. I don't like prople coming near me. Any people. Ever.

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Argos74 [393 posts] 2 years ago
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They're not whiskers. They're tentacles.

//i.imgur.com/Y2L1tJX.jpg)

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paulfg42 [387 posts] 2 years ago
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Good to see Californians working hard to maintain their reputation.

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The _Kaner [778 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd buy that for a dollar....wait, that's New
Detroit.

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The _Kaner [778 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I'd buy that for a dollar....wait, that's New
Detroit.

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The _Kaner [778 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I'd buy that for a dollar....wait, that's New
Detroit.

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
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That's surely the stupidest thing I have seen all day, what you need is machine guns.

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a_pilau [11 posts] 2 years ago
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cbrndc wrote:

Not sure if having this extending beyond the width of the vehicle is legal. Anyone know?  7

I'm in trouble! My arse extends beyond the width of mine!  21

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cyclingDMlondon [489 posts] 2 years ago
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congokid wrote:
bikebot wrote:

Oh, just sod off!

LOL

'Just popping down to the shops for a bag of sugar, dear...

'Brake check, check...

'Lights, check...

'Helmet, check...

'High vis, check...

'Whiskers...?....FFS'

In tests, eight out of ten riders who expressed a preference....

I'll get my coat.

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HarrogateSpa [359 posts] 2 years ago
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The article is written in a patronising style.

The video has too much detail on how they thought up the product, and doesn't actually show it, which makes you wonder whether this is real or an elaborate hoax.

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cyclingDMlondon [489 posts] 2 years ago
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HarrogateSpa wrote:

The article is written in a patronising style.

The video has too much detail on how they thought up the product, and doesn't actually show it, which makes you wonder whether this is real or an elaborate hoax.

It reminds me of that video - was it on this site that it was referenced? - of the guy in the US who had a sort of 'wire' sticking out to one side, the exact length of which forced drivers to give him the legal minimum when passing.

It's a pity that we have no such mimimum distance here. What we need is such a law, as well as diamond-tipped rods protruding out towards the right.

That, or a collapsible tonfa in one's shorts (feed lines.....).

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MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
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They need a small tungsten steel tip like an ice tyre stud.

Dipped in puffer fish toxin.

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bendertherobot [1077 posts] 2 years ago
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I'll go against the hate and say, interesting concept.

But not the flaring bit, that's silly. Though it is a correct statement of how much room you should be given.

No, in swept mode, this looks like a fairly decent addition to the dark winter commuting armoury.

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Redvee [238 posts] 2 years ago
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Only three letters can describe my thoughts on this:

WTF  13

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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I AM IN!

TAKE MY MONIES!

This is brilliant. The video starts off with an otter.

What more does anybody require?

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Sudor [186 posts] 2 years ago
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I like the "look to nature" approach to problem solving - perhaps Mark II whiskers can draw on the 600 volt shock capability of electric eels to remind drivers they've strayed across the line!

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levermonkey [664 posts] 2 years ago
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Can I have something modelled on a trap-door spider please? That way, any car driver who comes to close gets eaten.  19

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oozaveared [937 posts] 2 years ago
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It's not given much credence on here but I think its got something. It may not be the final product either but smart ways to visually delineate the space a cyclist needs is a good idea. And biomimicry is a good way to go.

Many of us more experienced cyclists may well not feel the need, We're confident, we're able to keep a sufficient speed to hold a lane but for newbies, the slower, older or younger cyclist commuting in cities there might be something in this.

and I say that as a rather traditional old git.