A Cyclist’s Best Friend

Going on long cycling tours or even cycling regularly, people come to rely on and appreciate how important a cycling helmet is to their safety. Swedish car manufacturers Volvo have seen this and are looking to tap into the mobile market and cycling sector with one foul swoop.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month, they launched a wearable technology prototype that allows two-way communication between cyclists and nearby drivers. The helmet has been designed to help eliminate the risk of accidents on the road involving cyclists who are ill-protected against vehicles when surrounding by ever-changing external variables.

Volvo worked with sports equipment manufacturers POC and telecommunication heavyweights Ericsson, to design the helmet that will sync with their vehicles. Together they have created a complex “cloud-based system to alleviate the growing number of cycling-related collisions and deaths,” annually according to online design magazine Dezeen.

The helmet will also allow cyclists to research certain roads through the sharing of user information and experiences regarding territories they have cycled in. When cycling, the device will send alerts to drivers when they are too close to the cyclists. Volvo’s vice president had this to say about the helmet:

“The partnership between Volvo Cars, POC and Ericsson is an important milestone in investigating the next steps towards Volvo Cars’ vision to build cars that will not crash.”
“But now, by exploring cloud-based safety systems, we are getting ever closer to eliminating the remaining blind spots between cars and cyclists and by that avoid collisions.”
The cyclist will be located by the driver’s cloud system via the cyclist’s smartphone through apps such as the hugely popular Strava. The cyclist will then be notified of the driver’s presence and the driver of the cyclist’s, via a heads-up notification projected to the display system. If a crash is imminent both parties are signalled immediately.

Volvo says, “the system will become even more useful when visibility is at a low or when road conditions aren’t ideal.” Although still in its early stages the trio of developers believe the prototype will be ready for the market later in 2015. By jumping on the surge of smartphone usage globally, which the developers of Pocket Fruity say is at an all-time high of 17% globally, they believe that this will become the ideal gadget to help keep cyclist and motorists safe on the road for the smartphone community across the world.

Life Beam has a funding project going on IndieGogo right now for a helmet that they have co-developed with Lazer (a Belgian helmet manufacturer).  Life Beam’s first product was a monitoring system for fighter pilots that would show vital signs in flight (kind of important).  The technology worked so great (they won the “Ramon Breakthrough” contest sponsored by Google), that a couple of engineers that work for Life Beam decided to place the monitoring system inside of a bicycle helmet.  Neat.

Road biking or mountain biking. Monitors just the same...

Road biking or mountain biking. Monitors just the same…

I’m not sure that I would use this kind of technology.  I think that my heart rate would be slightly higher going home from work compared to in the morning because…I’m going home and not to work.  However, if you are at all interested in monitoring your heart rate and you’re tired of your chest mounted heart rate strap chafing, you should check this out.

“SMART uses electro-optical technology to continuously measure your heart-rate.

The optical sensor is placed on the helmet’s front, gently touching your forehead. The sensor samples the blood pulse in a high frequency and transmits a raw signal to the processing unit, which is placed in the helmet’s back.”

The system is very non-invasive with the front sensor resting on the front of your head, reading your pulse and sending that information to the processing unit in the back of the helmet.  With a battery life of 15 hours, you can go on some fairly lengthy rides and collect all of the non-chafing data you want.  The nice thing is that the sensing unit goes into a sleep mode if it hasn’t been used in three minutes.

Check out more in the video below:

If you still need a fix, head over to their website.

I’m sure that you’ve all heard about this by now, being keen followers of Oprah.  The Mighty O has placed the Giro Reverb onto her list of favorite things for 2012.  You all know the favorite things list.  It includes such important items as the Scrabble App for the iPad and the Classic Sparkle Ugg Boots.  All kidding aside, this is a huge boost to the cycling community by Oprah giving awareness to a safer cycling culture.  This helmet, as Oprah points out, is nice for urban commuters because it has nine cooling vents and can be easily customized.

Seen below is the helmet taking a cruise through the streets of San Francisco.

See the helmet on Oprah’s list.

Read more about the helmet here.

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