Threads of innovation

Across the streets and sidewalks of Shanghai, the physical form of the scooter wind-jacket is in an early enough stage that one can see where the leap was made from being an improvised solution — as seen above  appearing to repurpose a (most likely faux)-fur lined vest to keep the rider’s legs warm while weaving through Shanghai’s traffic in the December cold — to a more formal version below. The path to how a more formal, less improvised version of this product might ideally look can be seen in how the owner attached gloves to the handlebars, deciding to invest in a separate product to try and keep her or his hands as warm as their Wookie-hair wrapped legs.

Here, a more formal version of the faux-fur version gains the benefit of some fetching Hello Kitty branding. While it lacks the clear warmth affordances of the more improvised approach (it appears in the lower photo that the owner of this scooter has supplemented this with an additional insulating layer positioned below this one), it makes up for it in additional coverage by appearing to drape on the rider’s forearms and shield the rider’s torso from the wind.

Another instance of motorcycle-centered innovation and creative repurposing, this approach is somewhat earlier on in a related-but-separate evolution. This solution, spotted on the opposite side of the country from Shanghai, trades off a bit of the wind protection of the previous examples spotted in Shanghai (where winters are less intense). What this solution loses in insulation it makes up for in built-in storage, as the vest from which it was fashioned sports an impressive collection of pockets.

Lest one think that wind-protection is the only noteworthy thread of innovation formalization currently unfolding around two-wheeled travel, another parallel thread in motorcycle-based informal product development can be seen here, with this one centering around how things are carried by motorcycle.

Finally, stepping away from two wheels and on to two feet (but continuing to follow the thread of repurposed clothing), back on the opposite side of China in Hong Kong, a jacket is creatively repurposed, continuing to give warmth to the wearer while also bestowing additional warmth and protection to a child in a drafty subway station.

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