Lighting the way
Published 1 June 2011
A University of Brighton student has developed a safety device that projects a bright green laser image of a bike onto the road ahead – alerting motorists to their presence.
Emily Brooke's invention is being hailed as a potential life saver and has won her a place at a prestigious college in the USA, on an Entrepreneurship Programme.
The final-year product design student 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."
BLAZE is a small, battery-powered device that is attached to the handlebars of bicycles, motorcycles or scooters, and which projects a laser image ahead onto 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.
Emily 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."
She said: "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."
Emily Brooke's invention BLAZE
Emily worked with road safety experts, Brighton & Hove City Council, the Brighton & Hove Bus Company and driving psychologists in developing BLAZE, an idea that has won her international recognition.
Emily has been shortlisted for an Enterprise Award, and is one of only three UK students to attend a paid-for course at Babson College in Massachusetts where she will work on developing the product. She was nominated by Beepurple, the University of Brighton'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 on Friday evening (3 June), and during office hours at the same venue on 4 and 6 June.
Find out more about the 2011 final year product design exhibition.
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Contact: Marketing and Communications, University of Brighton, 01273 643022