Biking Enters the Digital Age

Augmented reality visors have long been the preserve of military aircraft, video game heroes and sci-fi. Then came Google Glass and the age of personal Head Up Display (HUD)’s was born.

Now, an American company is set to release a smart motorcycle helmet that offers a heads-up display, virtual rearview mirror, smartphone connection and voice controls.

The public first saw the prototype at a 2013 emerging technology and Demo trends event in Silicon Valley. There the Skully P1 showed the world that wearable technology is more than simply a buzzword and could help save lives.

3D laser-cut to ensure a perfect fit, the helmet incorporates a rear-facing ultra-wide-angle lens camera so that riders have a full 180 degree view live video feed of everything happening behind them and on either side of them projected onto the inside of the visor and thanks to their ‘Infinite Focus’ technology, will also be in focus and won’t hinder the rider.

This is a huge step towards eliminating blindspots, especially when cornering sharply.

Elbows and shoulders can block mirrors, while the need to move your body to balance the bike means glancing over the shoulder is virtually impossible.

Other features include smartphone alerts and notifications, access to your device’s music library plus voice operation for hands-free calling and route programming for the turn-by-turn GPS.

It will come with an Android or IOS companion app to configure ride settings and adjust camera angles before you get on your bike.

“For riders, awareness is crucial,” said Skully Helmets chairman and CEO Marcus Weller.

“We designed the Skully P1 to operate as a natural extension of the senses. It sees, it hears, it feels, and, most importantly, it thinks and connects you with the rest of the world. This is just the beginning for this platform.”

Ride telemetry and voice control are due in software updates after the initial release and could use your phone’s accelerometer and weather app to calculate your speed and display weather data.

The P1 is by no means the first ‘smart’ motorcycle helmet on the market.

Companies such as Dainese have been offering Bluetooth connectivity for wirelessly connecting phones and MP3 players for more than five years.

What’s more, there are plenty of aftermarket companies that sell Bluetooth and GPS kits that can be retro-fitted to existing helmets.

However, until now, any attempts to extend on this functionality have been less than successful.

Source : The Namibian