The system includes LEDs, sensors, an on/off switch and a fully rechargeable battery that provides up to 10 hours of power. As with textiles, the electronic system is flexible, so it shifts with the movement of the body. It is also able to react to body movements and directional changes via sensors. Translucid display areas in the front and back of the jacket allow the light function to be visible.

The circuitry is fully encapsulated, so it’s safe and water-resistant, and also makes the jacket easy to clean. It’s ultrathin and fastens to the lining of the jacket – which can be buttoned out to access and handle the system more easily.

The integrated system is based on stretchable circuit-board technology. It’s made of thermoplastic polyurethane, upon which meander-shaped copper conductors, microcontrollers and further components (LEDs, sensors, a switch) are applied.

The system is comprised of four interconnected patches, each equipped with 16 LEDs (white in the front and red in the back), a motion sensor and a microcontroller. The lights can be turned off and on via a thin haptic switch on the front-left patch.

To increase the security and usability of the system, it is embedded into a flame-resistive, non-woven, water-repellent outer textile layer.

The jacket – which is produced in Europe by Gysemans Clothing Group – is front-zipping with raglan sleeves. It has a high collar and a long-cut back, as well as highly stretchable Lycra under the arms to enhance mobility. Two internal zipped pockets allow for safe storage of small items, such as smartphones and wallets.

The main outer material is earth-khaki coloured ETA-proof organic cotton by Stotz and is incredibly durable. The light-grey coloured translucid display material is from Schoeller. The jacket also has a viscose fabric lining and a Schoeller soft-shell material in the back and under the arms for enhanced moisture control and breathability.

This circuit-board technology that allows wearers to be visible at night can be integrated into any clothing and accessories, enabling various innovative applications, such as the Utope Light Belt – a simple design to help improve night-time visibility. Wearers can attach it like a belt or even over the shoulder. The system has also been applied to the Utope Light Bag, which is shaped like a holster and includes two small patches, with 10 white LEDs in the front and 12 red LEDs in the back.

Both the Light Belt and the Light Bag, as with the Sporty Supaheroe Jacket, are water-repellent and equipped with a motion sensor to detect directional changes and body movements, have a switch to turn them off and on, and – most importantly – help urban nomads to be seen after dark.

Utope was awarded the Red Dot Design Award for the category Design Concept in 2013. The international jury chose the jacket Sporty Supaheroe as ‘Red Dot: Best of the Best’.

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