Over recent months we have brought news about a variety of different bike helmets:
• BRG Sports 360° Camera – 6 Jan 2016
• RH+ Z Alpha Helmet – 1 Feb 2016
• Lifebeam Helmets Get Wearable – 22 Feb 2016 and most recently
• Raise Your Glasses - 7 June 2016.
You could be excused for thinking that there is nowhere else to go as far as cycle helmet development is concerned, but a team with a long list of successful product development on their CVs have come up with some interesting and innovative ideas for cycling helmets.
In my conversation with CEO Manuel Saez, he stressed that their product is not aimed at the racing cyclist, which is good, as while the product is not overly heavy at 480g – especially when you learn just what is packed on board – that would be heavy by road racing standards.
Let’s start with one of the simplest design ideas. It struck me as being so simple that it is amazing that nobody had ever thought of it before. There is a good size circular hole on each side, so you can use your bike lock to secure your helmet when you park your bike in a town. So often, fastening my cycling helmet to my bike has been something of an issue, so I really liked this feature.
From there, the technology comes in to play and quite massively.
This new bike helmet has sensors which detect approaching traffic in your blind spots, utilising two 1Ghz processors to analyse the video of their approach. This causes a light in the visor to blink and the speed of blinking increases as the vehicle gets nearer. The sensors also detect your hand signals and switch on direction indicators on your helmet, making your turning intentions that much more visible to drivers both in front and behind you, as well as to your side. There’s even a gyroscope that detects travel direction and braking, which causes a red brake light to come on at the rear of the helmet.
The same video cameras which are used to detect traffic also record your journey, with one facing forwards and one to the rear, storing their footage on a 4GB memory which is equivalent to about 6 hours of video. An App makes the video available, not just for your social media but also in the event of an accident.
The on-board battery provides 2 ½ hours of use which is likely to be more than enough for several commutes to and from work or a local cycle ride, and then takes 1 hour to recharge.
With all that technology on board – and with Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone – it is no surprise that the helmet also has navigational uses. Similar to yesterday’s mention of the lifeSpace navigational belt, you have the advantage in an urban environment of not having to study a navigational device’s screen on your handlebars, but instead of feeling the direction to head by the belt vibrating, lights in the visor – within your peripheral vision – indicate a left or right turn, or straight on.
When you look at the Kickstarter pages for the CLASSON bike helmet from Brooklyness, you will see that the prices are competitive with good quality helmets, particularly when you figure that this has lights and both front and rear facing cameras included.
What is more unusual is the subscription service. If you support the company during the campaign, you get 6 months included, but thereafter there is an annual charge of $99 a year or $9.99 a month. This will get you a free replacement bike helmet if yours is damaged in an accident, video access, the GPS navigation, the app, and new features and updates. From talking to Manuel Saez, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are other features in their roadmap, the guy is just bubbling with ideas. The app allows you to manage helmet settings like light intensity and gesture sensor sensitivity. You even get ride stats.
The helmet is available in various sizes and 5 classy colours.
Pretty exciting stuff! I’m impressed. Manuel is recently back from China where he visited the factory - the same place that several of the big cycling helmet names get their products from: companies such as Bell and Specialized. So production is in good hands.
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