Smart Helmets- The Future Is Now
From our friends at Law Tigers:
Helmets have long been used as protective gear, going back thousands of years to the Bronze Age. Originally fashioned from boar tusks, helmets eventually evolved to various metals by Greco-Roman times.
In the modern era, protective helmets made their appearances outside of war in the fields of firefighting, horseback riding, skiing, and American football, to name a few. However, it wasn’t until 1953 that the first motorcycle helmet (made from rubber and cork) was patented for commercial sale.
Since then, motorcycle helmet technology has evolved quickly, both in the use of materials such as carbon fiber and the incorporation of smart technology. In this brief article, we’ll give you an overview of what’s available and what’s on the horizon.
Connect Your Smartphone To Your Helmet
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, you’re probably familiar with Bluetooth, which is a wireless technology that connects different electronic devices so that they can communicate. It was invented in 1994 and made its way to vehicles in 1999.
Bluetooth gives drivers of passenger vehicles a way to engage in hands-free communication and access to elements like navigation, music, and the Internet without having to fumble with cords, buttons or looking down at screens. Now, the same technology is available in Bluetooth motorcycle helmets.
The built-in Bluetooth headsets in a growing number of helmets give riders the following benefits (depending on the manufacturer):
– Listen to music, whether it’s your favorite riding playlist, podcast or even live FM radio.
– Make phone calls with voice commands and take incoming calls. You can also reject calls. Some helmets have noise control features included.
– Get guided navigation with GPS.
– Communicate with other riders in a nearby range.
Access A Rearview Camera
This technology is not available for all helmets, but it’s steadily making its way to the mainstream. With a rearview camera, there is no need to keep your head on a constant swivel. A rearview camera built into the helmet allows you to essentially have eyes in the back of your head, giving you the power to see in all directions, including your blind spots.
Along these same lines, augmented reality (AR) will soon become standard. This advancement allows you to see images like your speedometer and GPS maps directly in front of you, eliminating the need to constantly look down.
Emergency Response Capabilities
Think of this helmet technology like OnStar® for motorcycles. With this feature, you can automatically alert your emergency contact if you’re in an accident. The system will also maintain a recording of the minutes prior to a collision to help with evidence gathering for the police and insurance companies.
Helmet Technology Aesthetics and Functionality
Not every helmet technology advancement has to do with electronics. You might also notice that helmets are starting to look sleeker and more futuristic. Even more important than the aesthetics, however, are the advancements being made in comfort and safety.
Specifically, there’s a new form of padding called Expanded Polystyrene (EPS for short) that enhances protection in the event of an impact. Further, a lot of modern helmets also include antimicrobial cheek pads that wick away sweat and can be removed for easy washing.
ICH is but one of many helmet companies developing advanced “smart” helmet tech for the future, with their iC-R model (in development). Photo: ICH
Technology Makes Riding More Accessible
There’s a learning curve when it comes to getting on a bike and taking to the open road. While newer riders will still need to take time to learn how to ride and become acquainted with the rules of the road and safety regulations, helmet technology can take some of the challenges out of getting started.
Features like audio navigation can help riders avoid the stress of being lost, and the ability to communicate with other riders can also be a big comfort for newbies.
Here at Law Tigers, we are a team of motorcycle accident injury attorneys and avid motorcycle riders. To learn more, visit our website.
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