Invisible paint for safety

Life paint is a retro-reflective, rainproof, washable spray-on paint that reflects light back towards its source, especially at night.

It is a good time to bike. With an increasing number of people gravitating towards cars and motorcycles, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is shooting up every day. Cycling sure makes for a tremendous workout, and helps keep pollution levels in check, provided enough people choose to do so. However, cycling at night can be dangerous. To minimise this risk, Volvo has come out with a retro-reflective temporary paint that is more like the safety tape and reflective panels sewn into biking and jogging jackets than your average glow-in-the-dark spray. This paint, called LifePaint, is a by-product of the branding partnership between Volvo, creative agency Grey London, and Albedo100. You might get similar products in other countries, but they will not go by the name of LifePaint.

According to the makers, this spray-on product can be used on textiles and shoes, and just about everything, except leather. But, the product reportedly has problems sticking on to nylon and plastic. You can wash the paint off with your regular laundry detergent. It has an adhesive mixed with it that can cause irritation to sensitive skin types. So, you would be better off spraying it from a distance to make sure it comes off your clothing after one wash.

Also, the paint is rain-proof, as long as you have applied it on dry fabric. The bond between the paint and the fabric is broken by detergent, not water.

Once it has been applied, the paint is supposed to be invisible in daylight, as long as it does not have a bright light shining on it directly. By design, it is supposed to reflect light back towards its source (a lot like a reflective tape). At night, light from vehicle headlights will bounce off the paint and make everything smeared with it look like a glowing blob. And it is a lot easier to see a glowing blob.

LifePaint is intended for fabrics because Albedo100 has a number of permanent solutions, including “Permanent Metallic” that is supposed to be used on bikes, signs, and stencilled patterns.

While we are on the subject of water-soluble glowing paints, there is a water-soluble version of the paint called “Horse and Pets” that can be sprayed on horses, cats, dogs, and all the animals that keep running on to the road. This helps drivers spot them and avoid having to swerve or brake at the last minute.

A can of invisible spray costs about £12.99. While it is not the cheapest option available, it is definitely more affordable and versatile than glowing bikes!

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