Image:Road.cc
Image:Road.cc

A team of two guys in Nairobi are working on a startup called Clad Light with plans to launch probably Africa’s first wearable and interactive electronics.

Founded by Joseph Muchene, a Certified Public Accountant – Kenya, and Charles Muchene,with a Bachelors of Engineering in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from The Technical University of Kenya, the Clad Light brothers are working on wearable electronics to help bicycle riders in East Africa to improve their visibility, day or night, while clearly showing intents to turn left, right or brake to avoid road accidents, which stand at over 3,000 to 10,000 a year according to WHO.

Charles told TechMoran that Clad Light was inspired by their dream for a road-safe society.
“There’s an increase in ‘bodabodas’ (public transport motorcycles) in Kenya, and as a result many inexperienced youths are rapidly acquiring one for business. In turn, there is a high level of road accidents involving these motorbikes,” he said. “Since the law requires that all these riders to wear a reflective jacket, we aim to launch a line of indicator reflective jackets for them.”

The startup, under incubation at Nailab, a Narobi-based incubator-accelerator says its reflective, indicator jackets would be used not just by ‘bodaboda’ riders but could be used for safety at assembly plants, warehouses, machine rooms among others. It’s major target however is the increasing population of the youthful motorcycle owners, motorcycle bodaboda riders and fitness enthusiasts.

1463188_1423884817842613_1094706475_nThe indicator jackets are fitted with a transmission device which is integrated to the motorcycle’s lighting or indication system. When a rider brakes, the device relays the signals to the jacket wirelessly and turns on the lights on the jacket to warn the approaching car or rider that his colleague is about to either branch-off or stop. A single jacket can be used by anyone on any motorbike.

Though in Africa, they might be the first to do this,  Li & Co, a Cambridge-based brand, launched a similar electronic cycling jacket May last year. The jacket’s sensor follows a wearer’s arms movement to indicate and flashes amber lights automatically to alert other road users using an Intelligent Motion-Activated Signalling System (iMASS). So whenever a wearer raises their arm, the  light signal flashes for around 5secs to show that he or she is turning.

Clad Light might not have launched their jackets yet but in two years,  Charles anticipates the startup would have covered the East African region, supplying and maintaining  indicator reflective jackets. They are looking for seed funding to put Clad Light on steroids.