Apparent Wind

Apparent wind is a collection of body-devices inspired by the British Summer and the windy city of Brighton. It is designed for bicyclists as accessories that reveal the wind catch while roaming about. These body-devices intend to be a poetic representation that give form to the imagination through indirect and abstract transformations [5].

A take on previous project Roam, which was designed for a locality and referred to a means of public transportation, Apparent Wind continues to investigate how devices can mediate space and communication by and while moving forward. It is a first draft of a design concept for bicyclists, which takes on the city of Brighton, a city on the south coast of Great Britain. It is a cycling town, dedicated to promoting healthy and environmentally friendly travel and cycle lanes are provided across the city, including along the seafront [2].

Apparent Wind is defined as the wind the rider feels somewhere between the true wind (from the side) and the man made wind (from ahead). This resultant wind is know as the 'apparent wind' and will have a speed and apparent wind angle, measured from the direction of travel to the apparent wind angle [1]. The suite uses material innovation and renewable and sustainable energies for the end-design of performative artifacts. These are body-devices which represent or transform when affected by external environmental conditions and do so in a cyclical way: they are slightly unpredictable, just like the weather.

Apparent Wind's initial prototypes are body-artifacts that use light to augment the bicyclist's own body and movements. They aim at supporting the interaction between human and computing technologies in a nonscreen-based environment - an environment with physical and sensual qualities appealing to our human intuition and adapted to our daily life [3].

The two wearable prototypes are comprised of faux fur material from a local store, a simple soft circuit made of conductive thread, LEDs (Light Emitting Diode), conductive stretch fabric pom-poms, metal jewelry parts acquired at local Emmaus (secular movement/charity for the homeless), polymorph plastic (smart plastic), and a battery power source. The 'necklace' design was chosen as it is a visible area for both wearer to display the device on her/his body and the onlookers, who are secondary users that view and interpret the device display during chance encounters with the wearer [4]. The two body-devices (figure 3) consist of the following: ManMade Wind and True Wind.

ManMade Wind illuminates when in motion and moving forward. This initial prototype introduces a simple visualization metaphor that maps airflow. It is designed according to the idea that when one is riding a bicycle on a completely calm day with no wind, one can feel wind on his/her face and it feels stronger as you pedal faster [1]. A tilt switch consisting of several contact points and a found conductive jewelry plate will ignite an array of LED lights to sparkle.

True Wind illuminates when in motion and while detecting wind coming from the side. A stroke sensor that consists of a series of pom-poms will respond to that breeze, and will react by moving gently which as a result will trigger embedded LED lights to sparkle.

Top: ManMade Wind; Bottom: True Wind

The intention with both Roam and Apparent Wind projects is to design artifacts that invite young people to use urban transportation responsibly while embracing the environment - either through external devices or body-devices - and having a fun experience. The prototypes developed wish to investigate how devices can mediate space and communication by and while moving forward, with the desire that they can also contribute to the adoption of sustainable means of transportation in an engaging and poetic way.

[1] About the Greenbird, How it works,
[2] Brighton & Hove City Council
[3] Diffus, The Climate Dress.
[4] Fajardo, N., Moere, A.V., ExternalEyes: Evaluating the Visual Abstraction of Human Emotion on a Public Wearable Display Device, in Proc. OZCHI 2008.
[5] Wilde, D. A New Performativity: Wearables and Body-Devices. In Proc. Re:live Media Art History Conference (2009).

Cycling related works
Kni++; scarves that illuminate
Hovding; The Invisible Bycicle Helmet
We Flashy: Reflective Clothing for Modern Times