Wearable LED lights powered by conductive fabric

Nightro Athletic shirt campaign launched on Kickstarter

Sydney-based Nightro Athletic is aiming to bring some interesting new wearable LED technology to the athletics market, via a campaign on Kickstarter. Its new product, a conductive shirt with reflective print and a removable LED strap, could be a sign of things to come in cycling.

The Nightro Athletic shirt has reflective print and a removable LED strap that features both front and rear lights and is held in place via snap buttons. There's a battery at the base of the shirt, and conductive fabric connects that to the LED strap.

While the shirt is arguably best for running, BikeRadarbelieves this technology offers great potential within cycling, an area Nightro Athletic claims it is working on.

We spoke with one of the designers, biomedical engineer Ryan Savitz. “The conductive fabric is essentially a woven ribbon cable,” he said “The ribbon cable is fully machine or hand washable. Our specially developed conductive yarn is insulated, making our woven ribbon cable resistant to electrical short circuit, even in heavy rain or sweating.”

“We use a special reflective-tech print. This reflective print can be any colour during the day, but at night it becomes highly reflective.”

A basic look of how the technology connects together: a basic look of how the technology connects together
A basic look of how the technology connects together: a basic look of how the technology connects together

A simple look at the conductive fabric layout

The lithium-ion battery connects to the shirt via micro USB, and is charged via the same method.

The LED strap position of the current design isn’t ideally suited to a cyclist’s riding position – the front light would likely be covered by the arm and the rear light points at an upward angle. A backpack will make the LED strap position redundant too. But the technology could easily be adapted to a cycling jersey to offer an additional level of visibility without a noticeable impact on performance or comfort.

For more information, visit the Nightro Athletic Kickstarter page.

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