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19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production – Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

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Participative product development of smart bicycle clothes

As a basic need of modern society, mobility drives innovation and growth. Bicycle mobility offers the social-ecological opportunity to rethink transport in urban areas in order to make paths and everyday destinations less polluting, more comfortable and less expensive to reach. Only if road safety is guaranteed, the change from car to bicycle mobility can be successful. In this context, clothing can be an enabler for bike mobility in private and business context, when they react to users’ intermodality and increase road safety in general. This requires the combination of clothing and electronics to create attractive and adaptable hybrids. Environmentally friendly consumption and production patterns are crucial for sustainable development. The raw materials used for the textile and electronic hybrids are finite. Ecological, social and economic aspects of sustainability must have equal influence. To achive this, we have to rethink the previous product development. In the cooperative dissertation between the clothing technology department at the University of Applied Science Berlin and the Institute of Vocational Education and Work Studies Berlin at the Technical University Berlin, we develop future safety concepts for cyclists based on interactive systems with digital clothing. We discuss the potential of hybrids from textiles and electronics for bicycle mobility and scenarios for bike safety and create modular construction kids for users. The cooperation focuses on participative product development in order to ensure sustainable and user-friendly operation of assistance systems in clothing. In addition, users are able to integrate simple, wearable modules into their own clothes by themselves. Consumer grow to prosumer, who consumes and produces interactive wear while working cooperatively with the fashion and electronic industry. The modular structure of our products ensures that the system can be adapted to individual needs. Thus over- and misproductions are reduced and the modules can be adapted if the environment changes. In our contribution to the ERSCP, we focus on collaborative product development on six levels of customer integration into the innovation process of digital bicycle clothing. The demand and need of bikers are in the centre of our participatory product development process. Our results are based on two qualitative and two quantitative surveys. The project also develops ideas for a sustainable mobility culture, which aim at strengthening awareness for the mobility transition. Our central research question here is, how can road safety be promoted with the help of intelligent clothing, without users feeling incapacitated by the interactive system solution. During the project, we developed intelligent bicycle clothing as an enabler for the mobility transition in the context of civil society, thus promoting the initiative of the users and aiming at an examination of digitalisation in everyday life. The aim of the project is to promote the process of social change in digitalisation by helping to shape sustainable innovations. The project integrates cyclists into the innovation development of digital bicycle clothing in a spirit of partnership. Collaborative product development creates learning effects with which consumers and producers can meet the challenge of sustainable management and recycling processes.

Laura Tihon
Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin

Hans-Liudger Dienel
Technische Universität Berlin

Monika Fuchs
Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft


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