As urban biking continues to grow, cyclist safety becomes a legitimate concern in today's traffic-infested cities. Now, South Korean designer Lee Myung Su has a solution with SEIL Bag – a compact backpack equipped with an LED display that communicates wirelessly with controllers attached to the bike handlebars, allowing the rider to display signals on the display instead of using hand-gestures to indicate directional turns and stops.

The backpack can fit the usual city essentials – wallet, mobile device, water bottle – and even offers special signals for emergency assistance, as well as more playful interactive displays such as emoticons and simple messages. The project won a 2010 red dot design award and, while still just a prototype, presents a promising twist on urban cycling that balances the playful with the utilitarian in a refreshing way.

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Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.