a running jacket that keeps athletes safe and motivated during early morning & night runs

Project Interactive Jacket

Role Interaction design, Prototyping

Summary Poor visibility is a safety hazard for athletes during morning and night runs. Additionally, if constant pace is more important than exact pace, a visual cue is more effective than information displayed on a small screen. The running jacket that I created solves both problems; integrated LED strips coupled to an accelerometer enhance the visibility of runners to their surroundings and change color together with the runners' pace. This project was completed as part of a semester long course that I took during college (Spring 2016).

The back view of the jacket.

LED strips run down the arms and are connected with a fabric-covered wire on the back.

First Steps After getting feedback from runners who run in low visibility conditions, I started to sketch the layout of the LED strips and the integration of the lilypad and accelerometer into the jacket.


Some of my sketches for the cuff of the jacket.

Integrating the Physical and Digital Some of my considerations included where to place the accelerometer to get an accurate reading from the runner's pace as well as how to safely secure the LED strips while remaining comfortable and visible during the run. I used an Arduino controller to make the color of the LED strips responsive to the data of the accelerometer.

electronics and early stages putting together the jacket

Setting up the accelerometer and lilypad before integrating them into the jacket.

CAD drawings of the cuff

CAD drawings of the cuffs made with SketchUp.

Movement Determines the Jacket's Lights As the pace of the runner increases, the color turns green. However as it decreases, the color changes from green to red, thereby reminding the runner to pick up the pace.

side profile of running jacket
user wearing the jacket while moving

A runner trying out the jacket in motion.

Learnings and Outcome My jacket was presented in a fashion show at the end of the course. I learned how to integrate hardware to create a wearable without impacting the user's comfort or experience.