Sussex grad cycling app flags potholes and road dangers

Product design student Jake Thompson from the University of Sussex has been recognised for his cycling app and light that capture information about dangers on the road.

Jake’s Flare Cycling system features a front bike light that connects by Bluetooth to a smartphone app. The light has three buttons that the rider can press to flag dangerous road surfaces, choke points for passing and intimidating junctions. These data points are geotagged using the phone’s GPS, creating a map of hotspots that can be shared with local authorities once the rider is back at home. Flare received an honourable mention at the recent Global Grad Show Progress Prize in Dubai, where 150 inventions from young designers were on display.

“The opportunity to attend the Global Grad Show was just so incredibly exciting and to be shortlisted and then to receive an honourable mention is just out of this world,” said 24-year-old Jake. “It was a great opportunity to meet graduates from around the world and learn more about their highly progressive design and an ideal opportunity to connect with potential partners for the development of Flare Cycling.

“Flare presents an opportunity to influence the design and quality of our growing cities’ infrastructure by focussing on political will, funding and data. Flare aims to make active transport a realistic choice for more people, and to improve congestion and pollution issues alongside our individual physical and mental wellbeing.”

After completing his Product Design degree at the University of Sussex this summer, Jake and nine fellow students attended New Designers London 2018 where Flare was selected as one of the Top Five Ones to Watch by Sarah Weir, CEO of the Design Council. Flare was also shortlisted for the Creative Conscience Award in September and was recently presented with the Sean Morley Memorial Award and Best Road Safety Product Award at the Houses of Parliament by road safety charity Airso.

After launching his cycling app, Jake received enquiries from Australia, USA, Japan and Belgium from a range of interested parties including cyclists keen to launch Flare in their area, local authorities asking about the possibility of a pilot scheme, and motorcyclists who asked for a similar device to be designed specifically for their vehicles.

“I’m really pleased with the scale of the positive response to Flare since it launched, it has vindicated a lot of the work that I did on my course in establishing the product,” Jake said. “Now I’m really keen to find the right partners or private investors that can help bring Flare to market as soon as possible.”