Engineering students develop high-tech motorcycle safety device

Nick Theoret and Cody Middleton

Nick Theoret and Cody Middleton

Cars today increasingly are equipped with advanced technologies like automatic braking and blind spot detection. Why not develop something that increases the safety for motorcyclists too?

That’s how two recent engineering graduates came up with Jacket360, a motorcycle safety device that has received wide recognition recently at business pitch competitions.

During their senior year, Electrical engineering graduate Cody Middleton and mechanical graduate Nicolas Theoret, conceived, designed, and pitched their product. The team won more than $4,700 in two different competitions, including clinching the top spot at WMU’s fourth annual K.C. O’Shaughnessy Business Pitch Competition and Showcase this spring.

The team received a $1,700 award in the WMU competition, which will go toward building a prototype of Jacket360. They are refining their first prototype, which they expect to be complete this fall.

Advanced drivers assistance systems are increasingly commonplace today in the automobile industry. Middleton said he saw a need for similar systems in the motorcycle industry.

“The basic idea of Jacket360 is that it notifies motorcycle riders of their surroundings by monitoring blind spots,” he said. And while the original design is oriented toward motorcycle riders, he and Theoret see the potential for wider applications of their product. “There are opportunities for our technology to save the lives of runners, snowboarders, longboarders, jet ski riders, and other recreational enthusiasts,” Middleton said.

Jacket360 now is an LLC in the state of Michigan, owned by Middleton, from Grand Blanc, Mich., and Theoret, from Montreal, Canada. The two have been busy the last six months winning competitions and attending start-up events coast to coast – from Brooklyn, NY, to Las Vegas, Nev. Theoret will be representing Jacket360 at the San Francisco Lean Start Up Convention this fall.