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Zackees cycling gloves feature built-in turn indicators


December 16, 2013

Zackees cycling gloves help enlighten drivers on cyclists' intentions

Zackees cycling gloves help enlighten drivers on cyclists' intentions

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Head- and tail-lights certainly do a lot to help cyclists be seen at night, although they generally don't let motorists know which way those riders are planning on turning. That's where good ol' hand signals come in. In order to make those signals more visible, former Google software engineer Zach Vorhies has created Zackees illuminated turn signal gloves.

Each glove has an array of LEDs embedded in its back, which are powered by two onboard coin cell batteries. Those LEDs form a blinking directional arrow, and are activated simply by touching a pair of metal contacts together – one on the inside of the glove's thumb, and one on the inside of its index finger.

When the user extends either arm out to signal, the arrow on that glove will light up for as long as the contacts are pressed together. Although the photos in this article show the arrows pointing straight to one side, Vorhies has since altered the design to have them angled more towards the pinky finger knuckle, allowing for the more commonly-used extended-arm (instead of right-angled-arm) style of signaling.

All of the electronics are enclosed in a waterproof polymer, so the gloves can be washed. If the contacts do accidentally meet during washing or storage, the LEDs will automatically turn themselves off after being powered up for an extended period. In any case, when the blinking gets faster and dimmer, it's time to replace or recharge the batteries – this will reportedly occur once every three to six months, depending on how often the LEDs are used.

While traditional hand signals will let the arrows be seen by drivers behind the bike, Vorhies suggests that in situations where riders are more concerned about being seen by oncoming cars, they should leave their hands on the bars so the arrows are facing forwards. That could get stressful for the rider, as there are likely to be plenty of times where they don't want to choose between front and rear visibility. Perhaps they'd just want to stick with the extended-arm signals, and simply flip the back of their hand forward when vehicles are approaching ..?

Zach and his business partner Murat Ozkan are now raising production funds for Zackees, on Kickstarter. The cheaper early bird pledge levels are already sold out, but US$69 will still get you a pair – when and if the funding goal is met.

You can see the gloves in use, in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Most cyclists I see on my commute (myself included) tend to indicate with arm stretched out horizontally; the bigger gesture is more visible to drivers. As such, the arrows are in a curious orientation; I can appreciate the thinking behind visibility from the front, but really, having your hands rotated that far forward is far from comfortable on flat bars, and it wouldn't be awfully beneficial for anyone using bullhorns or drop bars either.


They pointed the arrows the wrong direction considering you are significantly better off sticking your hand straight out rather than straight up.


Doesn't the US driver manual outline the correct means of manually signalling? And this isn't it.

And only the left turns should use an extended arm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_signals http://www.dmv.ny.gov/dmanual/chapter05-manual.htm

Erik Guilfoyle

Just use your arm like all kids in the Netherlands are taught to do in school.

OTOH, the rider on the picture would do well to wear a high-visibility jackets instead of that dark sweater.

Freyr Gunnar

I think this would confuse drivers more. Left arm bent upward at ninety is a right turn, not the right arm.


We offered a similar product several years ago and it was not a success.

Greg Mixson

I like the idea, but as a few people have mentioned, they are promoting the use of incorrect signalling techniques. These gestures have been around for decades, and changing them could lead to serious problems.


Better a refletctive t-shirt with long arms refletcive bands..

Nico Danger

These would work very well with the cyclists' hand signals common in the UK and most of mainland Europe. I'll happily shell out fifty pounds and trans-Atlantic shipping if it means I'm less likely to get flattened by a bus.

@Nico Danger; why not both? My experience suggests that there is no such thing as too much reflective/illuminated gear when cycling in a city.

Lucy Cooper
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