About this project
"What’s great about Vega Edge is that it’s a fantastic way to play with this new type of fashion without having to overcommit." - Betakit
The Vega Edge is easy to use and versatile. Made with laser-cut leather, it snaps securely to your clothes using four strong magnets. It has a thin strip of retro-reflective fabric integrated into the design for added visibility. You can wear it discreetly by day or brightly at night on your coat, cardigan, hood, scarf, handbag, collar, pocket, belt, or wherever you’d like a touch of light.
Why wear one?
Wear the Edge for added visibility at night while cycling, jogging or walking. Wear it because it’s fun and unique.
Traditional bike lights often get forgotten on the bike frame, leaving them vulnerable to theft. The Edge will stay with you, so you’re always prepared and visible.
Any season of the year — it can be worn in countless ways.
The Edge is designed to look good even when the lights are off—a design philosophy we believe is crucial for any wearable product. Here it is in action on the streets of Toronto:
How it works
It snaps to the edge of your garment using strong neodymium magnets.
The Edge doesn’t have a typical flashing pattern of ON–OFF–ON–OFF. We have experimented with different fades and shimmers, and use a unique light pattern when in flashing mode (as seen in the video). If you're interested in learning more about the brightness of these LEDs - see details in the FAQs section (How bright are the lights?).
Playing with Light Patterns! If you like to tinker, the Vega Edge is Arduino-based and can be reprogrammed with whatever flashing pattern or behaviour you'd like. When the Edge ships we’ll include a link to our Hacking the Edge guide which includes hardware instructions and the open source code.
We’re offering the Vega Edge in two featured shapes: Trapezoid and True. Both are available in either black or brown leather.
Each shape can be paired with your choice of light colour: White, Red, Green or Blue.
For the first production run we’ve standardized the two (above) leather shapes as our core, featured designs. In the future we hope to experiment with a variety of shapes leather colours, and faux-leather (vegan) options. If you want an edgier Edge and are willing to spend a little more, we're offering a limited exclusive run of the following special designs:
We've sourced a special material from Paper No.9 in Brooklyn, New York City as an animal-free option of the Edge. To start, we're doing a very small run of just 20 Veg Edges. But it’s more than just a leather alternative:
“Free of plastics and complex polymers, our innovative textile is natural, non-toxic, and features a texture and appearance unlike any other fabric on the market.” - Paper No.9
Check out the detail and beauty of this hand-crafted material:
How It's Made
The Vega Edge combines a custom circuit board with a laser-cut leather enclosure. The LEDs are diffused by a retroreflective ripstop material. Custom neodymium magnets are inset in the leather using a strong adhesive.
Where the money goesThe funding from this Kickstarter campaign goes towards our first production run with a minimum quantity of 500 units. Costs include finalizing the design and electronics, materials, fabrication fees and staffing to ensure the production goes smoothly. Any additional funds will contribute to further research and development so we can bring the Vega Edge to market more widely.
Stretch Goal! The Vega Edge light board is currently powered by one CR2032 coin cell battery. With this single-use battery the light board will operate for approximately 20 hours. However, we have nearly completed the development for a USB-rechargeable version. If we raise an extra $10K for this campaign (for a total of $42,000 CAD) we will be able to provide the rechargeable battery option to all Kickstarter pledgers.
The Vega Edge was created through a collaboration between Angella Mackey’s Vega outerwear line and Kate Hartman’s Social Body Lab. We brought together a team of designers, engineers and artists to create a wearable light accessory that combines safety with fashion. The team includes Hillary Predko (textile designer), Jackson McConnell (industrial designer), David McCallum (media artist) and Johannes Omberg (electronics engineer).
We all wondered the same thing, Do safety gadgets and safety clothes always have to look so awful? Couldn’t we spice things up with something that appealed to a broader audience; one that didn’t scream safety, sports, or extreme technology? Isn't it possible to create wearable light that integrates well with current everyday fashion?
What we do
Kate Hartman’s Social Body Lab at OCAD University in Toronto explores and develops body-centric technologies that live in the social context. With the recent rise of consumer wearable electronics the lab is particularly interested in developing technologies that people actually want to wear.
Between Toronto and Gothenburg, Sweden, Angella Mackey has been working with the concept of fashionable light for cyclists for over three years with her brand Vega, integrating lights directly into jackets and coats. Mackey’s been thinking a lot about the culture of wearable light—and more importantly, how it hasn’t been answering the needs of the stylish cyclist. The Edge brings her company’s original concept of "illuminated outerwear" into the form of a smaller, simpler accessory that can be worn with all types of garments, making for a more affordable and versatile option than the jackets.
Working together from across the ocean, Vega and the Social Body Lab have merged their skills, values and design senses to create something truly unique.
Angella has been specializing in wearable technology for over six years in art, research and commercial contexts. She has worked on functional garments in a wide range of industries, from medical to space flight, and lectures on the design challenges of wearable electronics. She has a multi-disciplinary background in new media art, fashion design, interaction design and product development.
David is a Canadian media artist based in Gothenburg, Sweden. He is currently exploring the connections between the patterns in traditional textile techniques and the patterns in software. His creative mind, programming and technology skills have helped bring the Vega lights to life.
Johannes has been working for eight years as an engineer with 14 years in electronic production. Specifically working with embedded systems and circuit board layout design in the context of wearable medical devices for the hearing impaired, his skills and experience have taken the Vega technology from idea to reality.
The Social Body Lab team in Toronto, Canada:
Kate is the founder and director of the Social Body Lab. She has been working with wearable technology ever since she fell in love with conductive thread in 2005. Kate teaches artists and designers how to work with technology, and is the author of the soon to be published book Make: Wearable Electronics.
Hillary is a textile designer who makes beautiful things with machines. She is interested in the intersection of craft and digital fabrication, and how technology can learn from craft. Her favourite machines are the bicycle, the sewing machine and the laser cutter, making working on the Vega Edge particularly fun.
Jackson is a designer and technologist. He is currently finishing a Master's of Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. He thinks it is pretty fun to create things that live on or around the body, and every once in a while he likes to design bicycle accessories.
Risks and challenges
While we have tried to keep our supply chain local as much as possible, we are working with some international vendors. This creates a risk of production delays if shipping takes longer than expected.
Our team has a combined experience in creating products both electronic and textile or clothing based. We took steps to get everything ready before launching this Kickstarter. We have the skills to get the job done, and are confident that the Vega Edge will be delivered on time with a high level of quality control.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
After this campaign closes (March 31st, 2014), a survey will be sent to your email address based on your pledge level. Here you can pick your shape(s) and colour(s). Those who have chosen custom leather etching will be able to submit their text.
You will be given seven (7) days to complete the survey. Since we must have exact numbers for production purposes, it's essential that we receive your choices in time, or shipping would be delayed for all Edge Pledgers. So if we haven’t received your survey response, your Edge choice will automatically be our favourite and much-loved design: The Trapezoid shape in black leather.
At the latest the Vega Edge will ship in early August. However, if production runs without a hiccup we’re hoping to ship as early as May.
The LEDs we use for the Vega Edge are called Cree XLamp ML-E 1/2 watt LEDs. The design of this overall product negotiates a compromise between the battery capacity and the brightness of the LEDs, so we have worked very hard at balancing these and our standards are very high for making sure they are as bright as they can be - because we are all cyclists!
It’s difficult to capture how brightly they shine in real life with video or photography—but we've done our best. Some cameras over-compensate, and other cameras under-compensate. Some people use video effects to enhance them. We've discovered that the best way to capture LEDS requires a controlled studio environment with no other light source to interfere (like some of the "fashion" shots we did). All of the street lights make this more difficult when shooting outside.
The battery will last 20 hours. Each set of lights takes one standard coin cell battery (CR2032). These batteries are common and available at most places where batteries are sold, including most department stores, grocery stores and bicycle shops in Canada.
We recommend that customers protect the leather like they would their shoes, by applying a coating of leather protector, mink oil or polish. The circuit board is sprayed with a conformal coating and mostly covered by the leather pocket and the material of your garment. The Vega Edge is likely OK in light rain and snow, however we do not recommend that the current version be used in heavy rain or when snorkelling.
The magnets used are strong enough to hold through a thick wool coat securely or even a fur coat! Make sure to place the Edge somewhere that it won’t be accidentally knocked by shifting bag straps.
Neodymium magnets should be kept away from credit cards and should never be ingested. There is a chance these magnets could interfere with the proper functioning of a pacemaker.
It is costly to produce custom electronics at small volumes. Small quantity (limited edition) Canadian sewing production is also costly. We have made every effort to provide a high-quality product, and the price reflects this. We anticipate the Edge will be available for purchase in stores in the future. The retail price of one Edge will likely be $100+ CAD.
This depends on what your bike is made of. Try with a magnet at home to determine.
The leather is treated to take out any stretch, meaning the circuit board will stay securely in its pocket.
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