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Product Design student rewarded for invention to make cycling safer

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Published 31 May 2011

A Brighton student has come up with a cheap invention to make cycling safer.

The gadget has earned Emily Brooke, a final year Product Design student the chance to develop her idea on an entrepreneurship programme in America.

Miss Brooke’s invention projects a bright green laser image of a bike on to the road ahead, alerting drivers to the presence of a cyclist.

She said: “I wanted to tackle the issue of safety of cyclists on city streets by increasing the visibility, footprint, and ultimately the awareness of the bicycle.”

Her invention, called Blaze, is a small, battery-powered device that is attached to the handlebars of bicycles, motorcycles or scooters.

It projects a laser image ahead on to the road.

A bright green bicycle symbol travels ahead of the cyclist, alerting others to its presence.

It has the option to be flashing, maximising perception, and the image is visible even in daylight. 

She said: “Eighty per cent of cycle accidents occur when bicycles travel straight ahead and a vehicle manoeuvres into them.

“The most common contributory factor is ‘failed to look properly’ on the part of a vehicle driver.

“The evidence shows the bike simply is not seen on city streets.

“Even when lit up like a Christmas tree, a bicycle in a bus’s blind spot is still invisible.

“With Blaze, you see the bike before the cyclist and I believe this could really make a difference in the key scenarios threatening cyclists’ lives on the roads.”

Miss Brooke worked with road safety experts, Brighton and Hove City Council, Brighton and Hove Bus Company and driving psychologists in developing Blaze.

And the idea has already won her international recognition.

She has been shortlisted for an Enterprise Award and is one of only three British students to attend a course at Babson College in Massachusetts where she will develop the product.

She was nominated by Beepurple, the university’s enterprise network.

Blaze will be on show along with other final-year student inventions at an exhibition in the Creativity Suite at the university’s Moulsecoomb campus.

The exhibition is on Friday evening (3 June) and during office hours at the same venue on Saturday 4 and Monday 6 June.

Find out more about the 2011 final year product design exhibition.

Blaze in action

Emily Brooke's invention BLAZE

Emily Brooke

Emily Brooke