Ziemi: putting the spotlight on cyclists

News - 25 November 2020 - Communication

With the nights getting longer and winter on its way, it’s more important than ever to stay safe on the road. A big part of safety for cyclists is visibility - especially when it’s dark outside. However, conventional bike lights focus on illuminating the road instead of the cyclist, which can sometimes hinder more than help when cycling at night. IDE’s IPD master student Luci Santema is tackling this issue with Ziemi, a new kind of light that harnesses the motion of cycling to make the road safer for everyone.

Ziemi began during the Advanced Concept Design course, in which Luci was tasked with designing for food delivery e-bikes. She began by considering visibility as a concept: in what other situations might people want to be seen? “I was struck by the metaphor of performing under spotlights on a stage,” Luci explains, “and so Ziemi was born!” Just as a performer attracts attention with movement, so too does Ziemi. The light is designed to highlight a cyclist’s pedalling, which in turn increases the attention paid to them by other road users, thus increasing visibility. 

After concluding their studies, Luci and fellow designer Elianne Koetzier teamed up to take Ziemi to the next level. Having won a patent for Ziemi from Arnold and Siedsma, Luci and Elianne focused on developing a sustainable production model, including social outreach manufacturing and recycled materials. However, tangible products require funding to start production. Having been sponsored with a startup voucher by IDE, Luci and Elianne are soon kicking off a crowdfunding campaign that seeks to spread the word and bring Ziemi to cyclists across the Netherlands. The design duo also have plans to expand their work into the charitable domain through a bicycle donation programme — so every Ziemi sold is a step towards making cycling accessible for everyone.

To stay in the loop with Ziemi and get notified when the crowdfunding campaign goes live, enter your email address at ziemi.nl