Riding a motorcycle is a visceral experience that stems from the feeling and sound delivered by a petrol engine. But what if your vehicle’s motor lacks any vibrations and your bike is eerily silent? You need to create an element of stimulation to allow the rider to get immersed in the new riding experience.
"Within our Origin jacket, we have developed the world's first motorcycle haptic system that links to the Vector motorcycle to provide communication via touch," explains Ollie Evans, Arc’s Chief Operating Officer.
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"Haptic is an interaction that involves touch. It's the sensation when your phone buzzes to alert you rather than when you see or hear it ring. Because an electric bike lacks the feedback you get on a petrol bike, we've built a haptic alternative, which we call Human Machine Interface: HMI."
Working with Knox
Arc have worked with British armour experts Knox to amalgamate eight haptic transducers into a back protector inside the jacket. These devices are effectively small versions of an audio speaker encased in a rubber surround.
Linked to the bike via WiFi, each sensor is tuned individually through a wide range of frequencies to correspond to a certain message that the bike is alerting the rider to or even to relay riding feedback.
"The Vector has a range of sensors that can be programmed to respond in a variety of ways and make one, all or any pattern we want of the modules in the jacket vibrate in any frequency," explains Evans.
Fingers on the pulse
"If you have the indicator on it may pulse gently on that side to alert you, whereas the blindspot detector will cause the vibrations to get more intense the closer the object is to the back of the bike. It will start with a tap on the base of your spine and then work its way up your back and the speed it moves and the intensity of the vibration relates to the speed the other vehicle is approaching."
The system also has a three modes: Urban, Sports and Euphoric. with Euphoric allowing you to 'feel' music via the jacket in the form of bass through the sensors. According to Arc, the use of haptic system frees up other senses, allowing the rider to enjoy the experience more and reduce distractions.
"We have simply redesigned the feedback language between the motorcycle and rider to take into account an electric motor’s lack of noise and vibrations," concludes Evans.