In a recent LiveScience article entitled, “Augmented-Reality Helmet Could Give Cyclist Extra Eyes on the Road,” author Edd Gent interviews Richard Price, Industrial Engineer at British design firm DCA, about his firm’s newest concept called the Optic Helmet. The Optic Helmet, according to the article, uses augmented reality to give cyclists a 360-degree view of the road. “The futuristic headgear features front and rear cameras and a drop-down visor that can overlay live-streaming footage from the rear camera onto the rider’s field of view.”
With an average of 20,000 cycling casualties per year in the United Kingdom and an increase in casualties in the U.S. by 12% since last year, there’s no wonder there has been an uptick in new rider-safety technology. This is one example of society dictating the direction of technology. Whether it’s performance eyewear, high-tech helmets, or even the bike itself, the uptick in tech gear is a welcomed one. Here are the three groundbreaking products, including the previously mentioned Optic Helmet, that have been designed to keep cyclist safe on the world’s roads, whether that be in NYC or London.
The Optic Helmet, even though just a concept, is filled with promising technology. According to the LiveScience article, the Optic visor displays proximity warnings when a car is coming up on the rider. “It alerts them to potential collisions by combining data from the cameras and ultrasonic sensors on the front and back of the helmet,” Price said. The Optic Helmet has a real shot at becoming a prototype due to the already existing technology. “Google Glass has already shown that this is feasible, and has a motorcycle helmet designed by a firm called SKULLY, which also projects a feed from a rearview camera onto a visor.” Price is referencing the SKULLY AR-1 – a helmet with a Heads-up display (HUD) that provides motorcyclists with only the most crucial information needed while driving.
Similar to the Optic Helmet and the SKULLY AR-1 with its visor display technology, is the Recon Jet – performance eyewear with a built-in display designed specifically for cyclists and runners. With its patented Glance Detection Technology, Jet wakes up instantly when you glance down, then turns off again when you look away, minimizing distractions. According to Co-founder Dan Eisenhardt, Jet makes you safer during the times when you’re on the road and get a text message. “You get the information you need without the safety tradeoff,” Eisenhardt said. “Kind of like the speedometer in your car but built better and it never competes for your attention.” Jet’s display is equivalent to a 30-degree screen viewed from 7 feet (2m) away.
The bike tech, whether it’s housed on the top of the helmet or in wearable eyewear, is designed to minimize distractions on the road. The Optic Helmet and the SKULLY AR-1 include location sensors – warning riders of pending danger. Just imagine if there’s a bike could do the same? Give safety warnings to its rider. Well guess what, there is one:
Introducing the Vanhawks Valour smart bike. Vanhawks’ proprietary blind spot detector sensors track objects in a “safe zone” using these ultrasonic sensors. While riding, if an object comes too close for comfort (like a car door opening), your handlebars start vibrating, alerting the rider of danger. Similar to a car’s backup cam alerting the driver of an object in the way, Valour sensors have a “safe zone” of 10 feet (3 meters) behind the bike and 4 feet (1.2 meters) wide. It’s a much-needed extra set of eyes while riding your bike.
Technology that protects cyclists by limiting distractions, whether the mode of transportation is a motorcycle or bicycle, is a great thing. The Vanhawks Valour commuter bike does this with its “safe zone” sensors. The Optic Helmet uses proximity warnings with strategically positioned front and rear cameras to protect riders. The SKULLY AR-1 uses a Heads-up-display (HUD) to provide critical information to the motorcycle operator. And finally, the Recon Jet uses Glance Detection Technology to limit peripheral distractions while cycling. The one thing that all of these technologies have in common: they empower the rider. It gives the cyclist a fighting chance to protect themselves against circumstances beyond their control. That’s the beauty of technology.