New Emoji Jacket Lets Cyclists Share Their Mood With Drivers
Car manufacturer Ford has devised an 'emoji jacket' to help cyclists convey what they're feeling while on the road, in turn hoping to help the lines of communication between road users on bikes and those in cars.
Sure, cyclists and motorists aren't exactly known for the being the best of friends on the roads, with their rocky relationship often seen playing out before your very eyes - by way of much fist-waggling, sweary rants or even a casual kick to a car door (don't try that at home, folks).
But Ford reckons it may have come up with an ingenious invention to help ease the dramas, having devised a new emoji jacket that will help cyclists express how they're feeling... without the kicking and screaming from either party.
The jacket, which was created with industrial firm Designworks, features an LED panel on which wearers can display a chosen emoji based on their mood.
Currently just a prototype, the product has been unveiled as part of Ford's Share the Road campaign, which aims to promote safe cycling and encourages better communication between cyclists and other road users.
It also hopes to urge more people to get on their bikes for short journeys, in turn helping protect the environment.
Along with symbols that relate to mood, the panel can also be used to express hazard warnings and indicators for when the cyclist needs to make a turn.
The gadget can be controlled using a wireless remote, which is attached to the bicycle's handlebars.
Ford explained that this allows users to change what graphic is being displayed without having to remove their hands from the bike itself.
Emoji and language expert Dr Neil Cohn said the rise in the use of emojis as a modern language has made them perfect to be used in a way like this.
Cohn, assistant professor for the Department of Communication and Cognition at Tilburg University in The Netherlands, said: "Emojis have become a fundamental part of how we use language. Whether used to convey facial expressions, humour, or sarcasm, they have become integral to our ability to express ourselves and quickly.
"This jacket created in partnership with Ford Share the Road allows riders to express their feelings and creates an important emotional link between them and other road users."
Emmanuel Lubrani, of Ford Europe's Share The Road campaign, said: "We are now living - and driving - in a world where communication is crucial. But all too often between drivers and cyclists this just comes down to the beeping of a horn or a rude gesture.
"Cyclists usually have to take a hand off the handlebars to communicate. The Emoji Jacket uses a universally understood means of communication to show one way in which tensions could be eased - and we all learn to 'Share The Road."
Featured Image Credit: Ford