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Android Motorcycle Helmet/HUD Gains Funding

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the 80s-future-realized dept.

Android 126

DeviceGuru (1136715) writes Skully Systems has achieved Indiegogo funding for a high-tech Android 4.4 based motorcycle helmet with a head-up display (HUD), GPS navigation, and a 180-degree rearview camera. The Skully AR-1 helmet launched on Indiegogo on Aug. 10 and quickly blasted past its $250,000 flexible funding goal and has already surpassed $900,000 in funding. The helmet runs a heavily modified version of Android 4.4, with both screen size and safety in mind, according to Skully's Tow. 'You should not think of it as being Android as seen in a phone; it doesn't run the same skin,' wrote Tow on the Skully forum page. 'You instead should think of it as a variant of Linux, not Android per se. What counts is the device drivers, graphics rendering for our turn by turn directions and vehicle telemetry, etc. More nerdy things like communication over the I2C bus to the image processing module.' Helmets are available starting at $1,399, with shipments due in May 2015.

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Oh man (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47663351)

a head-up display (HUD), GPS navigation, and a 180-degree rearview camera

Shut up and take my money already!

Helmets are available starting at $1,399

Well, let's not be hasty.

Re:Oh man (1)

Njorthbiatr (3776975) | about 2 months ago | (#47663381)

It's worth it imo.

It's absolutely NOT worth it (1)

bsdasym (829112) | about 2 months ago | (#47664591)

Spoken like.. someone who isn't a rider.

Helmets are 'disposable' gear. If you damage it in a crash, you toss it. If you drop it down the stairs, you toss it. If there is *any* doubt in your mind that it's 100% intact, you toss it.

I'd rather not toss the GPS, computer, and the rest of the techno gear out with it. Drop the price and release it as a 'retrofit kit' and I'm in. Until then, I'll keep buying 'normal' helmets (which these days offer integrated speakers and mounting for bluetooth dongles for GPS/phone/etc).

Re:It's absolutely NOT worth it (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 months ago | (#47665277)

I'm not a motorbike rider (although I have ridden one as a teen and did spend several years working in a big motorbike shop/warehouse), but I do a lot of cycling and would really love to get some kind of separate HUD. I'm thinking of something like Google Glass, but with swappable lenses (e.g. clear, high contrast yellow, shaded) that could link up with other instrumentation via bluetooth.

It'd be great to have a HUD displaying a rear view camera, GPS info and other cycling specific info like cadence, heart rate and speed. If the front and rear cameras also stored video onto micro-sd cards, there'd be great evidence for use in any traffic incidents.

If it's in a separate form factor, then you could wear them under a motorbike helmet as well as wear them on a cycle which makes more sense if you do want to replace your helmet. I'm sure there's a lot of similar functionality that you'd want for both modes of transport.

Re:It's absolutely NOT worth it (1)

MugenEJ8 (1788490) | about 2 months ago | (#47665857)

I completely agree, as the only time my expensive lids come off the shelf is when I'm on track and they require >DOT standards. There's no way I would daily a $1,400 helmet...

Until some sort of display interface that connects via BT or even cable to a specialized shield, HUD systems for riders will never take off. Think transparent curved displays like the ones LG just showed off recently. It's the perfect compliment to a helmet, and if the big manufacturers get onboard with some sort of "e-shield" standard, then we may have something to consider.

Re:Oh man (2)

Cthefuture (665326) | about 2 months ago | (#47663511)

Worth it? Meh, probably not.

I wonder how much it would cost to simply take a regular helmet and some Chinese electronics off eBay to make the same thing. I'm guessing significantly less even including your time to build it.

I mean you're looking at less than $100 in raw parts for GPS + Arduino + HD Camera + display controller/OSD. Not sure about the HUD part but I believe it's just a projection on a small piece of glass, probably also less than $100 in parts by itself not to mention alternative hardware implementations that might be cheaper. Add $300 for a decent helmet, wire it up and you're done.

Personally I think I would find the HUD hardware incredibly distracting. Not the HUD itself mind you, but the stalk that sticks up in front of your eye. I would rather it be projected on the visor even if that means it's not always available (eg. when the visor is up).

Re:Oh man (2)

amxcoder (1466081) | about 2 months ago | (#47663899)

Agreed, projecting on the visor like a fighter pilot helmet would be the best IMO. That way you can flip it up and it's not in your face if you want. Plus the visor is bigger and a better distance from your eyes than a google-glass-like window. You also would have more real estate for projecting information and telemetry data. And both eyes could then see it instead of just one.

I'm still waiting for this feature in cars for the windshield. Heck, my 1997 Pontiac had a cheap HUD that displays the speed and radio stations on the front window, why aren't we putting GPS nav and other information projected onto the front window by now. It's freaking 17 years later (from when my car was built) and there are STILL only a handful of cars doing this today, most common being the Corvette. Even the ones doing it today are still only putting a couple pieces of info on the window, same as my car did 17 years ago (speed, radio, and maybe what gear your in?). With tech being cheap today, I want this as an option on normal everyday cars as well (obviously as an option, so your not forced to buying it).

How cool would it be to have a HUD version of GPS of where you need to go overlaid on top of what you are seeing, or have some augmented reality street signs projected as you drive around an unfamiliar city. Add in your speed and a couple other car operating status displays, maybe a rear or side camera views to help with lane changes, and you got some useful information that you don't have to take your eyes off the road for. You could even do a night vision/FLIR front cam projection, so at night, you can see better (like Cadillac did years ago), except projected in front of you.

This would have to be way more safe to have this information transparently floating in front of you that needing to look down at a dash mounted GPS, or at your cluster, or at your radio when changing channels etc.

Something like this: http://www.google.com/url?sa=i... [google.com]

Re:Oh man (3, Funny)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47664077)

why aren't we putting GPS nav and other information projected onto the front window by now.

Because most drivers don't spend much time looking out the windows? They have smart phones FFS.

Re:Oh man (1)

MugenEJ8 (1788490) | about 2 months ago | (#47665861)

Unfortunately, this... :(

Re:Oh man (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 2 months ago | (#47664425)

Many states have laws not directed specifically at a HUD on your window but at anything that obstructs the driver's view. Just like it's against the law to hang random stuff from your mirror you can't suction cup your gps to the window under the mirror because it obstructs the driver's view.

only if I can look as cool as this (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 months ago | (#47663585)

Did somebody say android helmet [blogspot.com] ?

Re:Oh man (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 2 months ago | (#47664573)

I said the exact same thing when looking over the site last night. Part of me is "Wow that's expensive" and the other part of me is "Well, it's only the most important part of my body; I should be willing to shell out some money to protect it" and the other part of me is "But it costs over half what I paid for my bike!" Decisions.

High Pricepoint (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47663357)

I get the whole value of having something out of Snow Crash, but $1400 seems like a pretty high price point for a motorcycle helmet.

As the man says... (4, Funny)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#47663397)

...if you've got a cheap head, buy a cheap helmet.

Re:As the man says... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47663453)

I have a kinetically fragile head, so I'd prefer to buy a protective helmet without particular regard for price.

Re:As the man says... (5, Insightful)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 2 months ago | (#47663479)

Except a standard $100 helmet vrs a standard $500 helmet is a huge improvement in safety and feature set.

The question is: is this a $100 helmet with $1299 of gadgets, or a $500 helmet with $799 of gadgets.

Maybe there will be a niche for this product, but I don't know of but a handful of motorcyclists interested in the helmet.

Re:As the man says... (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | about 2 months ago | (#47663565)

There is almost no difference between say a $250 helmet and a $1000 helmet other than the graphics.

Sure, the super-cheap $50-$80 helmets can be seriously lacking in safety but almost anything above that is fine if it fits your head and has the features you want (fit, noise, venting, etc).

Re:As the man says... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663677)

As long as it has the Snell/DOT rating. For safety wise they are all the same. Just went out spend more money, you get lighter, more comfortable, more features.

Re:As the man says... (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 2 months ago | (#47664393)

Not exactly true.

One of the benefits of a Snell rating, which is rare to find in anything but a $300 list price helmet (you can find deals of course) is the testing is done in Snell's labs, not the manufacturer's lab like DOT. (Hence part of the price difference)

Snell requires testing against significantly higher energy impacts as well.

 

Re:As the man says... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664853)

You may wish to find an old article in Motorcyclist magazine called "Blowing the Lid Off". In this article, they point out why testing against higher impact energies is wrong, and that in fact at the time, NON-Snell helmets were safer than Snell helmets. Snell has since revised their ratings, but don't fall into the trap of thinking that Snell==good while DOT-only==bad. That is simply not the case.

Re:As the man says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665659)

I do recall that some of the Snell tests were more robust than their DOT counterparts. For example, I think the DOT drop test was 6 feet vs. 8 feet for the Snell. The DOT impact/penetration test used one strike with the anvil, while the Snell test included multiple strikes (a far more realistic scenario in an actual wreck).

I always used Snell-rated helmets in my car racing days and continue to this day to use them on street motorcycles,

Re:As the man says... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47663645)

Except a standard $100 helmet vrs a standard $500 helmet is a huge improvement in safety and feature set.

The question is: is this a $100 helmet with $1299 of gadgets, or a $500 helmet with $799 of gadgets.

Maybe there will be a niche for this product, but I don't know of but a handful of motorcyclists interested in the helmet.

Not to mention that safety gear like helmets do have expiry dates. I mean, it generally should be replaced every 5 years or so purely due to material degradation. So $1400 gets a little pricey when genuinely good ones are around $500-600.

(Plus, there are many variations in head shapes and unless the helmets are custom molded, just because it's a $1400 helmet, it could fit you worse than your $200 Wal-Mart special and actually lead to more injuries).

Of course, making one is also hard - since everything has to be rigidly mounted - we can't have the screen detaching and flying into the eye because the motorcyclist took a spill.(you need a high-G tolerant mount and screen because in an accident, the last thing you want is your helmet to injure you MORE because of broken screen pieces flying into your face and eyeballs.

Re:As the man says... (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 2 months ago | (#47663973)

Rear view in your helmet visor would be awesome. Fucking radar off the back of the bike with software that could warn of a wobbly driver approaching from behind--priceless.

Re:As the man says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664243)

Fucking radar off the back of the bike with software that could warn of a wobbly driver approaching from behind--priceless.

Not sure what you encounter on the road but radar to detect fucking from behind is not my primary concern. Missionary or GTFO.

Re:As the man says... (1)

MugenEJ8 (1788490) | about 2 months ago | (#47665923)

Rear view in your helmet visor would be awesome. Fucking radar off the back of the bike with software that could warn of a wobbly driver approaching from behind--priceless.

Acoustic distance sensors with an Arduino module connected to some sort of radial LED warning system is something I wish I had the hardware talent to create. As riders, we don't need to know what kind of objects are behind us or on blindspots, just that they're there. In most cases a couple degrees of rotation of my wrist and I'm a 1/4mi from the target, but the knowledge that something is there is incredibly useful at 25mph or 150mph.

Re: As the man says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664583)

When I was researching motorcycle helmets and the safety standards I actually found that a 100 dollar one was the highest rated. It conformed with even racing standards. Its called the Nitro Aikido.

Re:As the man says... (1)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about 2 months ago | (#47664641)

More like a $100 helmet with $6-800 worth of gadgets and $799-999 worth of Markup value.

Re:As the man says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664877)

Feature set yes, safety no. You really need to research about. Like I mention elsewhere, you should look for an old article in Motorcyclist magazine called "Blowing the Lid Off". It debunks precisely what you are erroneously saying, and gives excellent reasons why this is not true.

Re:As the man says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665349)

I'm sorry, but call me cynical. I just look at the quality of the average article today, and I really almost don't care what a journalist says, I don't believe them. Quality of journalists in the last probably decade or so (probably longer honestly) has become so poor, that I could honestly see me questioning if they said the sky was blue. I feel the need to verify facts myself, and if not, I'm going to trust DOT and snell ratings way before some more than likely incompetent journalist trying to write a shock piece which would be the paper version of click-bate.

Re:As the man says... (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about 2 months ago | (#47665087)

All helmets follow the exact same safety testing, and must comply with those tests to be sold. The only difference between a $400 helmet, and a $4000 one, is teh comfort level, name brand recognition, and amenities (built in communications, bluetooth etc) So yes, a cheap helmet will protect your cheap head just as much as the expensive helmet will. And considering helmets are 1 time impact, cheap comfy helmets are the best bet. example, knock it off the table and it hits the ground.. time for a new helmet.

Re:As the man says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665237)

And, you know, whether it barely passed the test or passed with flying colors. Or wait, did you think that how cars get different ratings based off of how well they did, even though they can be quite poor and still pass didn't apply to other products as well?

Re:High Pricepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663399)

It's only about twice that of current high end helmets. Most motorcycles in the US are expensive toys and their owners have the money to drop on high-dollar riding gear. Also note that 1400 bucks is not what it once was.

Re:High Pricepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663447)

Indeed, $1,400 is only shocking because nothing was priced around that before but $1,400 itself is about half of what I spend per month in expenses.

Re:High Pricepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663663)

Actually motorcycles are usually significantly cheaper to own and operate than a car.

Re:High Pricepoint (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 months ago | (#47663437)

Being that you probably have shelled out a lot of money for the Motercycle. You might as well spend some more for a good helmet.

How much more does your automobile cost you for its safety equipment.

Re:High Pricepoint (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 2 months ago | (#47663573)

This would go perfect with my $600 75 Honda CB550 and my $300 72 XS650, not to mention the $500 78 Vespa P200!

Re:High Pricepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663577)

Most bikes, unless you go for something like a harley, aren't very expensive actually. My safety gear cost about half what my bike did, and my bike isn't a terribly cheap one.

But hey, $600 for a helmet is worth it if it keeps my brain inside my skull if ever the need arises. But then there's the price of the leathers, the gloves, the boots, the spine protector, if you're not going for the full leathers, the riding jacket, it all adds up. And with the gloves being easily the cheapest item at, I think mine were $160, yeah. Leathers, christ, an okay set of those can easily cost you $2000.

Re:High Pricepoint (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 months ago | (#47663609)

Being that you probably have shelled out a lot of money for the Motercycle.

Not unless it's a Harley; most bikes can be had new for a few grand, even a litre bike will run less than $11,000 brand new in most cases.

Re:High Pricepoint (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47663667)

True! that is why you will not buy this crap helmet. The helmet the Skully is based on is a $90 el-cheapo

Re:High Pricepoint (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47663685)

Being that you probably have shelled out a lot of money for the Motercycle. You might as well spend some more for a good helmet.

How much more does your automobile cost you for its safety equipment.

You might as well spend some more for a good helmet.

For $500 you can get just about the best helmet money can buy. This thing is $1,400 and one would be wise to ask the following question. Does the extra money make me safer?

I'm willing to step out on a limb and say that it is unlikely the extra money adds to your safety, in fact, is very likely to do the exact opposite of making you more safer. Chances are this high tech HUD helmet is not built on the best platform, it likely adds significant weight and may, with all the HUD stuff, increase the chances of getting distracted while driving. No, I don't think this is the most cost effective way to add safety. What you really should spend that extra cash on, once you have the safest helmet money can buy, is the proper shoes and body wear.

No, you buy stuff like this because you want the tech, you want turn by turn GPS directions with pictures and sound when you take the hog out. (what am I saying, the Harley guys won't buy these things.) OK, the guys that buy junk like this will be the stunt rider wanabes you see doing wheelies at 90 MPH between lanes during rush hour on the crotch-rocket.... They don't care about safety and don't need the GPS because everybody KNOWS where they are going, the morgue.

So who's going to buy these things?

Re:High Pricepoint (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 months ago | (#47663493)

I was about to buy me a used bike for roughly 1500 - 2000 Euros ... now after I got the helmet I will have to wait another year ... I hope I can update the firmware then :)

Re:High Pricepoint (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663531)

This is literally the "the world's first" consumer-level helmet like this, there's no competition yet. Once it's been out for a year, competitors will appear and you can get your own SKOLEY brand knock-off at WalMart for just $199.99!
 
  But seriously, people pay $600 for new smart phones, and helmets with nothing but bluetooth start around $200. The price of this brand may never go down, but cheap knock-offs will show up eventually!
 
captcha: novelty ;)

I'll be getting one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663373)

As a daily rider, I've been following this product. I'm already saving for its released next year.

Re:I'll be getting one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663473)

Another daily rider here-

I currently use a SENA SMH10, it lets me take calls/ listen to music but the main benefit of this helmet is the rear-view.

My only concern is that displaying video will take some serious battery power and I have been known to go on 6 hour trips(Between charges, anything longer and I'll probably just hotel it)

Would it be weird? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663395)

I don't ride motorcycles, but I want to wear motorcycle gear and a Skully helmet just to look awesome.

Re:Would it be weird? (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47663427)

Half the reason of owning and riding a motorcycle is the excuse to look awesome.

Re:Would it be weird? (0)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 2 months ago | (#47663501)

I think I am doing it wrong.

Re:Would it be weird? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47663579)

you got a scooter didnt you?

Re:Would it be weird? (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 2 months ago | (#47663681)

I did. Dammit!

They told me the Vespa was cool, man!

Re:Would it be weird? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47663655)

Only for the squids and harley riders. Read motorcycle riders know better.

Re:Would it be weird? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47663733)

Half the reason of owning and riding a motorcycle is the excuse to look awesome.

And here I thought it was just a death wish.. Driving a motorcycle seems like a dangerous way to get places during rush hour. Driving a car scares me enough, I'd hate to be out there on two wheels trying to doge the stupid people, the gravel, AND the guy behind me who obviously don't pay attention to anything smaller than what they are driving.

So, why does that middle aged woman bring her Harley to work most of the time? I thought she did it for the parking space, because your above theory just doesn't apply to her.

Re:Would it be weird? (4, Insightful)

Pope (17780) | about 2 months ago | (#47663851)

And here I thought it was just a death wish.. Driving a motorcycle seems like a dangerous way to get places during rush hour. Driving a car scares me enough, I'd hate to be out there on two wheels trying to doge the stupid people, the gravel, AND the guy behind me who obviously don't pay attention to anything smaller than what they are driving.

So, why does that middle aged woman bring her Harley to work most of the time? I thought she did it for the parking space, because your above theory just doesn't apply to her.

Because they're fun to ride. If you're scared of being in a car already, then a motorcycle isn't for you.

easy enough... (0)

afaiktoit (831835) | about 2 months ago | (#47663467)

buy any helmet you want and a google glass. problem solved.

Re:easy enough... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47663509)

I wasn't aware the Google Glass had a rear-facing camera.

Re:easy enough... (1)

afaiktoit (831835) | about 2 months ago | (#47663581)

yeah, to activate it you tilt your head towards the mirror icon

Re:easy enough... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47663941)

How well does it work with a helmet on?

Long overdue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663485)

HUD's in general are long overdue in mainstream autos. The tech ain't exactly exotic or expensive and the benefits are obvious.

This helmet may be expensive now, but once this takes off it won't be.

Re:Long overdue... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47663583)

HUDs have been around for ages, my familys 91 grand prix had one for god sakes

Re:Long overdue... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47663797)

The optics required for HUDs can be exacting as is the location of the viewer. Making a HUD that works for all sorts of different sized people (different viewing points) and is big enough to cover a reasonable portion of your field of view would be pretty expensive.

Generally there isn't much reason to use a HUD in a car. There just isn't that much information a driver would find interesting. Speed, RPM status of the cruse control and? There isn't much else. It would be cheaper to put such indicators out on the hood or something than try and shoehorn a HUD setup into your average car. Not that it wouldn't be really cool....

Re:Long overdue... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47663929)

There are at least four things a driver might legitimately want to see on a HUD. Speedo, Tacho, Navigation (no map is necessary, but the distance to and direction of the next turn are nice) and radio controls. All of these are things you will regularly want to look at while driving. I'd skip the last one, I can tune my radio by ear since I don't actually listen to broadcast radio, but the other three are all things I'd very much like to have.

Re:Long overdue... (1)

butalearner (1235200) | about 2 months ago | (#47665209)

There are at least four things a driver might legitimately want to see on a HUD. Speedo, Tacho, Navigation (no map is necessary, but the distance to and direction of the next turn are nice) and radio controls. All of these are things you will regularly want to look at while driving. I'd skip the last one, I can tune my radio by ear since I don't actually listen to broadcast radio, but the other three are all things I'd very much like to have.

I'd like to see (and I think this is where things are going) displays that combine or simplify information from sensors.

My car should basically build a mini-map of vehicles around me, potential dangers, and so on. I don't need to see it on the HUD, but perhaps just arrows (color-coded and/or faded with distance) pointing to other cars in case I don't see them. Arrows toward nearby emergency vehicles would be helpful, too, since I can never tell what direction the siren comes from. It should estimate braking distance and monitor driving conditions, and warn me if I'm too close to the car in front or behind me, or if I'm getting too close to anything beside me. That's combining knowledge of the vehicle (weight and braking info), GPS, cameras/range sensors, and current weather information.

I would like performance displays as well. Checking the tach and speedometer is all well and good, but I like to keep an eye on efficiency gauges when the car I'm driving supports it. More to the point, I'd like my car to tell me how fuel efficiency might change if I sped up or slowed down, being mindful of course about the speed limit. I'm picturing a HUD showing a small slice of an estimated efficiency curve with a marker for the speed limit. Maybe a fancier version would take into account information about the terrain and surrounding vehicles to somehow suggest optimal speeds for efficiency and safety. I want my car to notice when efficiency doesn't meet expectations, too, and tell me if tire pressure is off nominal, the car weighs more than expected, and so on.

Lastly, I want to be able to bring up lots of information on startup that disappears when I'm moving or in gear. I want to know how approximately how many miles I have until empty, how my car's fluids are doing (including things like oil purity, not just level), how my car's my battery, tires, brake pads, air filter and so on are doing, safety information (everybody is buckled up, emergency break is off, lights are on if not automatic), and so on.

This helmet scares me. (5, Insightful)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about 2 months ago | (#47663539)

I'm a motorcycle rider and racer for over 40 year. This helmet scares me.

First, this little detail: "The “highly weather resistant” helmet is made of a “lightweight, aerodynamic” polycarbonate shell, says Skully Systems."

Polycarbonate - OK, that's the material used in low-end helmets (sub $200). In the $300+ category, we have fiberglass and carbon fiber. PC tends to craze (small cracks) when exposed to UV. I've seen a PC helmet crack in half when it fell off the bike and hit the concrete. Just from the material, I'm not interested.

Second - When I watched the video, I found the lower right display too distracting. Riding a bike in traffic, you never know when some idot will run a stop sign, or pull out in traffic. You need to be able to pick up any movement as you scan for threats. This adds distraction. Distraction on a motorcycle kills. Kills you dead.

Third - Did you see how most of the testimonials come from non-riders? There was a "tire expert" (WTF is that?) and only one racer/builder. So I think this is a bunch of tech guys putting together a somewhat-cheap helmet, as a way to sell cool tech.

Over time, this may (should?) evolve into something that works well. But I fear this will turn into the motorcycle-equivalent of the texting-while-driving problem.

Re:This helmet scares me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663665)

PC tends to craze (small cracks) when exposed to UV. I've seen a PC helmet crack in half when it fell off the bike and hit the concrete.

This helmet isn't appealing to me either, but not because of the material. I'm also a longtime rider, (30+ years) and I have heard the old "plastic helmet cracked in half" story; even if you really did see that, it's the shell doing its job. The paint on any decent helmet will have UV inhibitors, so that shouldn't be an issue. And there is a reasonable amount of debate as to which standards a helmet should be built to, with a lot of the PC helmets meeting DOT rather than Snell which could actually be better in the most likely crash scenarios.
I'd really like to see some scientific studies done on real life accidents, but I'm not aware of any since the Hurt report from the 70s.

Re:This helmet scares me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664379)

I was at a talk at the recent American College of Emergency Physicians meeting about motorcycle accidents. The general feeling (no formal studies) was that ANY helmet was a significant help. As long as it was installed on the rider's head.

I think that Snell vs DOT arguments would be splitting hairs. Just stay away from SUVs and wear a helmet. Any helmet.

Re:This helmet scares me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664457)

The general feeling (no formal studies) was that ANY helmet was a significant help. As long as it was installed on the rider's head.

I think that Snell vs DOT arguments would be splitting hairs. Just stay away from SUVs and wear a helmet. Any helmet.

I feel that's correct. I've been having an ongoing discussion with some other friends about the level of safety provided by an 18 year old Arai I have. I'm pretty sure that it would provide a decent level of protection, despite the "replace every 5 years" mantra. I have even tried to see if I can pay to have it tested to destruction, just to see who's right, but haven't had any response. The outer shell is still solid, the expanded foam liner is intact and hasn't been exposed to solvents that I'm aware of, so I suspect it would still meet the requirements it was built to.
The fact that it's actually nasty to wear is the main reason I'm going to replace it.
(I'm the same AC above.)

Re:This helmet scares me. (4, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | about 2 months ago | (#47664995)

One of the issues with age and helmets is that the core materials can degrade with time. People like to say that helmet tech gets better and safer and it does, but an old style helmet is still a lot better than nothing.

The best reason to replace your helmet every 5 or so years is that they styrofoam can break down and that can significantly reduce the usefulness of the helmet.

Also, every time you fill up that bike the styrofoam inside is exposed to a solvent. Gasoline vapor. Sure, its not going to dissolve it over night but 18 years? you might be pushing your luck. Still it is pretty much impossible to quantify the condition of the inside of a helmet. Some companies will test them to see if they are still usable after a minor accident but that process is not worth the cost unless the helmet is very expensive. All things considered it is best to replace them if you have had an accident. I'm not even sure if that testing would show solvent damage or if it just shows where the styrofoam has been deformed by impact.

That said, if you are going to ride with that or nothing.... go with your old Arai.

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 months ago | (#47665619)

Spoken like a true engineering expert. Oh wait. Just because you're an MD doesn't mean you know everything. I semi trust MDs with medicine and semi trust engineers with engineering. I don't trust either outside their profession. We're not talking about splitting hairs, we are talking about split skulls. I'll trust and use an Arai or Shoei with a composite fibre (glass/carbon) outer shell than any polycarbonate. The outer shell won't break on impact so easily so it can keep distributing the forces. Sure wearing something that meets a minimum standard is better than nothing, that is so straight forward it is almost a meaningless statement. Anyone who values their skull will value something built to a higher standard. And as for the retards who insist on riding without a helmet, well we don't lose anything if their head hits the pavement.

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663719)

Motorcycle rider for 27 years. All sports bikes. This helmet is an accident waiting to happen, pardon the pun. Riding motorcycles (unless one is a sleeping harley rider) requires 110% concentration to the road and conditions, even on a sunny day. Assume the goal of every car on the road is to make you their new hood ornament.

This helmet will prove far to distracting and take your eyes off the road. This only appeals to ADHD-afflicted tech-heads that feel they need to be plugged into anything electronic.

I'll wait for the first lawsuit from an accident victim blaming Skully for creating an "unsafe" environment, which resulted in the death of a biker who felt it more important to look at GPS to find their Moo-shoo-pork restaurant than the pedestrian crossing the street.

Re:This helmet scares me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663845)

Motorcycle Rider of 14 years here. Mostly cruisers. I agree that this is an accident waiting to happen. You need your full concentration on the task of riding at all times. For this reason I've avoided adding any bluetooth functionality to my helmet. I don't see the need for a potential distraction in a region where people barely notice other cars let alone motorcycles.

Re:This helmet scares me. (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 months ago | (#47665665)

Assume the goal of every car on the road is to make you their new hood ornament.

Someone told me to think that only one car on the road is out to get you, and you don't know which one it is. You'll look for it harder. :D

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

janeuner (815461) | about 2 months ago | (#47663785)

Mostly agree with the parent comment.

Note that helmet-mounted bluetooth interfaces have existed for years, and many mid-to-upper range helmets are designed for those optional systems. Take away the HUD, add a modern smartphone, and I have all the Skully's useful-to-me features at a fraction of the cost.

Re:This helmet scares me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663945)

add a modern smartphone,

Or, just don't make f*cking phone calls while riding a bike. (Or driving a car, walking in a crosswalk, etc.)

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

Amtrak (2430376) | about 2 months ago | (#47664939)

Who said we were making calls.... maybe I just want that sexy Google maps voice in my head telling me to turn into a lake just to test me. Or it's for music you know whatever.

On the music note that always seemed like a cool idea to me until I got my new pipes on my bike. Now the idea of hearing music while at speed is a joke. All I feel is the rumble of my bike and I love it.

Re:This helmet scares me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47663841)

I think you make valid points about the build quailty but I wanted to point out he youtube video was just for demo purposes and on the real helmet the lcd display is not in your direct field of vision.

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

mguitar2003 (1898378) | about 2 months ago | (#47664049)

I agree better helmet and instead use a voice notification instead of a display. Distraction kills.

This helmet scares me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664051)

". PC tends to craze (small cracks) when exposed to UV."

^This^ you have wrong.

While I won't argue that PC is the best material, that 'craze' comment is ... crazy.

Safety Equipment Designed To Kill Its Wearers (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 months ago | (#47664433)

On a motorcycle you need all your wits about you. It's one of the things that is appealing to riding. The Zen of it. You don't have the ability or chance to think about much else except what you are doing in the moment. A serial thinker's escape. To think of other stuff too much and not pay strict attention to traffic, the road, the conditions, means you will die sooner than later, especially given you are riding on not in something at high speed. You need to be aware of your surroundings. This thing will effectively negate all the best practices of motorcycle riding by being a complete distraction.

Motorcycles are not fighter planes. Skies are a lot bigger than a roadway. A little drift here and there, you don't run into things. The only comparison would be very close formation flying. I doubt any pilot wants much if any distraction in those circumstances.

Sure one can turn it off if not needed. But that is most of the time. And I can buy a safer helmet cheaper, and a map to look at when stopped. Or even a handlebar mounted GPS device for when stopped. The instrument pods are already in a great place in terms of site line and not in your limited visual space.

These guys are going to kill their customers. They likely are Agile developers who don't understand the need for proper requirements analysis.

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

the_l3pr3chaun (3580913) | about 2 months ago | (#47664437)

I am a non-rider and when I first saw this I thought cool, then my other thought at a Luddite is what if someone decides they need to hack it and turn the screen black, or other things to distract you so you wreck. At some point don't we just need a helmet that protects your head and nothing more?

Re:This helmet scares me. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664757)

Polycarbonate - OK, that's the material used in low-end helmets (sub $200). In the $300+ category, we have fiberglass and carbon fiber. PC tends to craze (small cracks) when exposed to UV. I've seen a PC helmet crack in half when it fell off the bike and hit the concrete. Just from the material, I'm not interested.

Years ago I worked in a motorcycle shop that offered a helmet trade-in credit toward a new helmet. You wouldn't believe the junk people brought in. My job was to take the trade-ins out to the shop and crush them with the forklift so nobody could dig them out of the dumpster. Those 70's and 80's style helmets - the open faced ones with the big plastic bubble face shield - were the worst. I could smash them totally flat with the 10,000 pound fork lift, and when I'd back off, they'd spring right back to their original shape. No damage whatsoever. Whoever designed those had a lack of understanding of basic physics.

I'm not convinced that the high dollar helmets are any safer than the cheaper ones. I think you're paying for light weight and comfort (okay, worth it if you ride a lot). I put my head in whatever has the latest SNELL certification.

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

Altus (1034) | about 2 months ago | (#47665021)

Interesting destruction technique. I just cut the strap, but I guess you could re-attach it if you were.... insane... which you would have to be to use a dumpster helmet.

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

X10 (186866) | about 2 months ago | (#47664783)

I ride a GSX-R1000. On the street, sometimes on the track. The site says the helmet has a "quick release chin strap". So it's not safe. On the track, a double D is required. I want a double D strap always. That made me want to find more info, but there's surprisingly little info on the quality of the helmet itself. Apparently, it's a cheap helmet. But at $1500, what does the extra $150 matter to make it a safe helmet? I would love to have a helmet with the gadgets that Skully gives us, but not at the cost of safety. What's the use of a heads up display after your skull broke in a crash?

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

Altus (1034) | about 2 months ago | (#47665045)

What the fuck is a quick release strap? As far as I know double D rings are required for any helmet in the US, maybe other place are using different connectors?

You are so right about the cost. If I am going to shell out that much at least make it fiberglass. install that crap into the best helmet you can build.

That said I agree with the grandparent. I think this is not a terrible idea in principle but the UI has to be perfect or it can kill you. This is not a case where good enough (or worse yet, we threw this shit together) will cut it.

Re:This helmet scares me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665149)

You raise a really good point on the helmet construction. If I'm going to shell out $ 1300 and up for a helmet, I want it to last a while. That's not something I'm going to care to replace every few years.

Re:This helmet scares me. (1)

sdguero (1112795) | about 2 months ago | (#47665445)

Agreed. It sounds cool and I'd like to try it, but it is a scary proposition.

lawsuit in 3..2..1 (1)

jcgam69 (994690) | about 2 months ago | (#47663561)

Someone crashes his bike into a cement barrier and hits his head, smashing the helmet and rendering him paralyzed. Family files multiple lawsuits against multiple companies including the maker of this device built into the guy's helmet because it "distracted him", or because pieces of it pierced his skull. It's just a matter of time. I hope Skully has factored this into the price.

Build one yourself for a LOT cheaper.. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 months ago | (#47663635)

http://www.reconinstruments.co... [reconinstruments.com] has an already proven solution hardware package that can easily be adapted to a full face helmet.

The problem with Skully is their chosen base helmet sucks, it's great for freaks with smushed heads, but normal people with round heads it's uncomfortable. so they will need to offer about 80 different helmet sizes to make a $1500-$2000 helmet fit everyone that wants to buy one.

Re:Build one yourself for a LOT cheaper.. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 months ago | (#47663901)

they will need to offer about 80 different helmet sizes to make a $1500-$2000 helmet fit everyone that wants to buy one.

Yes. This makes immense sense (easily abused, but anyway) if it's integrated into a visor or attaches to same, perhaps with some easily-drilled mounting holes... but otherwise, it makes absolutely none. People have differently-shaped heads; mine's a Shoei, for example, and a 2X to boot. Well, to helmet. I wear a size 16 boot.

Just A Thought (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 months ago | (#47663693)

It would be interesting to see this helmet with right and left cameras, and some type of radar unit for avoiding on comming traffic from the right, or left, and from the back side...

as a rider, a lot of questions still remain. (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 months ago | (#47663697)

the excitement about the ironman theme seems to have eclipsed some major questions that I feel haven't been answered for many riders. call me a hater, but I guess the customer reviews will need to answer these:

1. what is the weight of this helmet?
2. did we ever solve the battery issue? how long, really, does this thing last?
3. im sure skully is all ears in san francisco, where your average motoring speed is well under 35, but can this thing communicate with me at highway speed?
4. is this device water resistant?
5. can it be charged from my bike like my phone?
6. what about riders with glasses?
7. many bikes already include bluetooth interfaces, how does Skully play with them?
as it stands, i can only see the helmet being adopted by vespa riding hipsters and the 20something lowered litrebike crowd; both of whom never leave main street or the comfort of first gear. anyone familiar with interstate and cross country riding already enjoy most everything skully provides. radio, pandora, gps, bluetooth, camera (front and rear) as well as realtime weather and traffic. its all been there for around a decade and already interfaces with bluetooth equipped helmets that are far more battle tested.

Re:as a rider, a lot of questions still remain. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664009)

Per the web site and forum:

1) 1792 grams
2) supposedly 9 hour battery life
3) rider tested and the answer is - yes
4) as much as any other helmet
5) it's a usb charger - so it should be capable
6) same as any other helmet
7) that's not clear yet

I'd be interested in the module alone as a kit (1)

TheRealSteveDallas (2505582) | about 2 months ago | (#47663817)

Helmets take damage, expire, and have a wide range of cost vs features that make it ridiculous to me to buy a helmet from a gadget company and I have more than one for different applications. I would happily plunk down reasonable money for a nicely prepped DIY kit to install their (IMO very useful) gadget in my current helmet though. Or, send my helmet to them for modification if it were a particularly difficult thing to do well. Better yet - spend some engineering time to make it easily transferable to any helmet.

Re:I'd be interested in the module alone as a kit (1)

X10 (186866) | about 2 months ago | (#47664805)

Apart from being able to take the kit to your next helmet, I want to choose the best helmet that fits my head perfectly and I think is maximum safe and strong. A kit would allow me to choose the best helmet, then mount the kit on it.

The Bicycle HUD's gotta be coming soon. (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 2 months ago | (#47663883)

I can't wait for my programmable Bike HUD!!!

Full face (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47663979)

At least it has chin protection. If you've ever seen what happens to a person's jaw when they face plant on the road wearing an open or half helmet you'll understand why it's essential.

Re:Full face (1)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about 2 months ago | (#47664335)

Shortly after I started riding about 3 years ago, one of the members of my Rider Group (national group so while I've chatted with him online, we hadn't had the opportunity to meet yet) went over the bars in a wreck while wearing a 3/4 helmet; slamming face first into the pavement. I've seen pictures of his face since the wreck. I wish I hadn't. Especially not right after the dinner I had that night. I was glad, and still am glad, I had decided to go with the full face helmet despite the Georgia heat and humidity. I'm on my second helmet after my first developed a crack in the foam. The only downside that I'm trying to come up with a solution for is increasing the airflow in the helmet while I'm sitting behind the windshield of my full dresser (Yamaha Venture Royale). There's the vented windshield option, but I'm thinking of something that increases the effectiveness of the fairing vents as they are.

I see where the money went (1)

director_mr (1144369) | about 2 months ago | (#47664213)

Although some have expressed concern about the helmet being made of polycarbonate, there is no proven advantage to other materials over polycarbonate in a helmet, as long as it is done well. The helmet appears to be high-quality, and it is pretty light. It looks about as distracting as good mirrors and a nice gauge cluster, as long as you know how to use it. To me it looks worth the $1500. Not that I would buy it, but I see where the money went. It looks like a well-designed helmet and interface that is likely the future of helmets. Whiners that are scared of it are probably the same type of people who were scared of phones, radios, and any other technological innovation.

Re:I see where the money went (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47664983)

To be fair, phones have caused many, many deaths in autos...

Nice helmet, try not to use it to begin with... (2)

DrackenFireBreather (691905) | about 2 months ago | (#47665245)

I too have been following the Skully and volunteered as a tester but was not selected. Do I think it's awesome? Heck yeah! But due to the steep price of this helmet and the shelf life of all motorcycle helmets at ~5 years, I'll be content with my Scorpion 1100 with Chatterbox X1 Slim as it does everything (protect the head and eyes, phone calls, bike-to-bike & bike-to-passenger VOX talk, turn-by-turn via smartphone, etc.) except the HUD and rear view camera and costs significantly less. And I can mount the Chatterbox to another helmet when this one is damaged or past it's shelf life.

I agree that getting the best gear for safety is great, but learning to ride defensively is the best.

I'd rather spend my money on learning to ride by going through an AMA [americanmotorcyclist.com] backed MSF [msf-usa.org] class. After taking the basic class, I realized how it made me a better driver in my car let alone on the bike. The intermediate and advanced classes just improved on that foundation.

For those that ask why I ride daily... the fact I can get 45-50 MPG mixed riding on a 1300CC sport bike and have more fun than the Prius driver is the main reason ;)

Just bought a new helmet... (1)

sdguero (1112795) | about 2 months ago | (#47665427)

I just spent $400 on a deeply discounted helmet. During the researching/buying process I tried on helmet modelss from many manufacturers... AGV, Bell, Shoei, Icon, and a coulple cheap no name brands. I found that every model from every manufacturer has a slightly different internal shape, and they all fit differently on my head. Some of them fit my head so badly (looking at you Shoei) that I almost isntantly got a ehadache wearing the proper size. I ended up picking the helmet that fit me 2nd best, a Bell Star.The best fitting helmet weighed 50% more and was not SNELL certified (safety is a BIG concern for me these days as I have a family). I commute to work on my bike, and I typically scratch/break a shield every 9 months or so.

Why am I saying all this?

Because as much as I'd LOVE to have an intergrated HUD visor/helmet, and would spend $1400 to have such a device, there is no way I'd plop down that kinda money on a helmet model I've never tried on before. Also things like airflow into the lid, airflow around the lid (especially when turning your head), make a huge difference and everything I read it takes millions to properly engineer a great motorcycle helmet.

If the project was to develop a visor, or internal eye piece, or helomet upgrade program that would work on MY helmet, I'd be a lot more interested.

hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47665595)

it's a nice idea I suppose.

1. for those that can't function without an internet umbilical cord then this may be for you.
2. for those that ride to ride this is just a distraction.

I'm in the second group.

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