Osram LEDs illuminate cycling shirts and jackets

Oct. 22, 2020
Slovakian premium apparel maker Isadore is weaving them into washable garments for high visibility. But they probably won’t be seen in the bargain basement.

With people around the world taking to bicycles like never before both for recreation and transportation during the pandemic, Osram has teamed up with a premium maker of cycling apparel to embed LED illumination strips in jackets and vests.

Slovakian sportswear maker Isadore is weaving the strips between the shoulder area and waist — along the outer “lat” muscles — so that they are visible from behind and from the side.

Unlike the reflective material common in cycling attire, the lights provide active illumination rather than requiring another light source to trigger visibility.

“It is simply switched on by connecting a power bank,” Osram said in a brief announcement.

The power bank is an aluminum alloy rectangular unit, roughly the size of a small smartphone, weighing about 4 oz. It slips into a jacket or shirt pocket where it connects to a USB outlet wired to the lights. Puchov-based Isadore says on its retail website that the USB-chargeable 4000-mAh device holds its charge for between 5 and 10 hours, depending on weather conditions and on how the rider deploys the strobe and flash settings. An LED indicator shows the battery level.

The illuminated clothing does not come at everyday prices. Isadore offers it as part of its “Merino Membrane Softshell” line of jackets and vests. In the UK, it’s charging £300 ($380 in the US) for an Osram-equipped jacket, and £240 ($305) for an Osram vest, for both men and women. (Isadore charges £240 ($295) for a similar men’s jacket without the lights, and £170 ($210) for a vest; the difference in pricing in the women’s line is similar.]

The prices do not include the power bank, which lists at an extra £23 ($25).

The illuminated, breathable polyester, wool, and spandex (also known as Lycra and elastane) blend clothing is, according to an Isadore promotion, “fully washable” on a cool setting, but does not take well to tumble dryers.

Osram’s announcement did not provide details on light levels.

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MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]m).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.