Bike Swarm

Jimmy Day

Berke, A., Sanchez Lengeling, T., Nawyn, J., & Larson, K. (2019, November). Bike Swarm. In Conference Companion Publication of the 2019 on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (pp. 1-4). ACM.


Urban cycling is often a solitary pursuit, as many cities do not provide infrastructure to facilitate social cycling, such as protected bike lanes. Negotiating congested streets can be stressful, even under the best conditions. The challenges of obstacle avoidance are amplified at night, when reduced visibility increases the risk of collision. In order to promote social cycling at night, we introduce [Bike] Swarm. Inspired by the natural synchrony emerging in swarms of nocturnal insects such as crickets and fireflies, [Bike] Swarm automatically inducts cyclists into a collective of nearby riders. A removable sheath of white LED illuminators is attached to the bicycle frame, providing a baseline level of illumination. When cyclists enter a 5-meter radius of other [Bike] Swarm riders, their bicycle lights begin pulsating in unison, creating a visually unified presence and extending membership in a self-organizing community that is increasing safety cooperatively.

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