Instructables LED Jacket Project

There’s an article over at Instructables that demonstrates how to create a jacket with built-in LED lights for bicycling at night. With the Arduino Lilypad prototyping board the lights can even be used as turn signals. This kind of project is way over my head, but it looks interesting nontheless.

Not everyone wants to look like an athlete while cycling to work or school. This cycling-jacket, made of hemp and wool, is equipped with lots of shining bright LEDs. It looks just as good during the day as it does during the night. Embedding the Arduino Lilypad electronics in the jacket, makes it at practical as it is nice to look at!


9 Responses to “Instructables LED Jacket Project”

  • bentguy in vancouver says:

    The majority of people who die while cycling do so because of upper body internal injuries. Shouldn’t that vest be more Kevlar than lights? Night cycling can be risky but most accidents happen because of cyclist error. Often they didn’t have any lights at all or did something really stupid. Night cycling safety means have a front and back light, be predicable and be aware that drivers and pedestrians are having the same difficulty as you seeing the other traffic. Cycling is a safe activity that requires no special equipment to be so (In the list of equipment that I do not consider “special” would be lights, bells — and/or horn — and a mirror). Education will go much further than lighted, hemp vests or whatever else is dreamed up to frighten us into buying the next great safety device. Sorry if this sounds a little over the top considering that your post was simply about some new piece of cycling bling but I’ve grown quite impatient with an industry that is trying to make a buck at the cost of what bike culture could be. It’s just that all you need is a knowledge of the rules of the road, a willingness to follow them and an ability to ride a bike without fear.

  • Alan says:


    It sounds as if you didn’t read the article at Instructables? It’s not a product for sale, it’s a do it yourself at home project. Mostly I just thought it was clever and I was impressed that someone was able to put it together. No one’s implying that a lighted coat is a replacement for education, road skills, or a lighting system…


  • Dale says:


    This is another wonderful idea. Kodos to whoever thought it up and another pat on the back for having the initiative to put it together.

    I have been researching the currently available tail lights being offered and I find that there are MANY great lights out there – for being seen in the dark, but NONE that are very noticeable for any distance in the bright sunlight.

    So I am nearing completion of a prototype Tail Light that can be seen (and GRAB a motorist’s attention – even if they’re on a cell phone) from 1/4 to 1/2 mile away IN THE BRIGHT SUNLIGHT.

    After some field testing, I may package it and bring it to market. I have no doubt that it WILL save Lives and injuries – because it is freaky bright with an annoying, impossible to ignore, flash pattern.

    And to Mr. Bentguy in Vancouver: “Do or don’t do – but there’s never been a statue erected of a raging critic.”

  • Sharper says:

    I’ve seen DIY vests like this before, and they provided the inspiration for the lights I built for my bike, as well as my uncompleted project to light my forearms to improve visibility from the side and while signaling.

    I’m intrigued by your claims, Dale. Would you be willing to share notes? If you managed to get one of those accursed Radio Shack 28k mcd T1 LEDs to work, you’re my hero…

  • Madness says:

    I might just wear one of these walking around the mall.

    Any biking gear invented to make me more visible, game on! It certainly doesn’t frighten me. But that bent guy’s post did! Note to self: Buy non-special bells, kevlar, whistles,an air horn and stop bothering the traffic around me!

  • Eddie says:

    While not bike-specific, I’ve seen something like this before:

  • ksteinhoff says:


    I bet when the guy in that illustation wears his jacket clubbing he gets more isolation than if he was wearing a bell around his neck and he was chanting, “Unclean, unclean. I have Swine Flu.”

    I love lights, but that one pegged my DorkOMeter.

    Maybe I should buy one of those for my kids (they can fight over it) just to see their expressions.

  • Eddie says:

    Don’t forget the matching pants :-)

  • Ron says:

    I wrote more into the background on this design. This jacket is the research of Leah Buechley from U of Colorado. The writeup is here :

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