The Future is Here: The AR Bike Helmet

AR_helmetAR displays are becoming all the rage, thanks in no small part to Google Glass and other display glasses. And given the demand and appeal of the technology, it seemed like only a matter of time before AR displays began providing real-time navigation for vehicles. For decades, visor-mounted heads-up displays have been available, but fully-integrated displays have yet to have been produced.

Live Helmet is one such concept, a helmet that superimposes information and directions into a bike-helmet visor. Based in Moscow, this startup seeks to combine a head-mounted display, built-in navigation, and Siri-like voice recognition. The helmet will have a translucent, color display that’s projected on the visor in the center of the field of vision, and a custom user interface, English language-only at launch, based on Android.

AR_helmet1This augmented reality helmet display includes a light sensor for adjusting image brightness according to external light conditions, as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope, and digital compass for tracking head movements. Naturally, the company anticipated that concerns about driver safety would come up, hence numerous safety features which they’ve included.

For one, the digital helmet is cleverly programmed to display maps only when the rider’s speed is close to zero to avoid distracting them at high speeds. And for the sake of hands-free control, it comes equipped with a series of voice commands for navigation and referencing points of interest. No texting and driving with this thing!

ar_helmet4So far, the company has so far built some prototype hardware and software for the helmet with the help of grants from the Russian government, and is also seeking venture capital. However, they have found little within their home country, and have been forced to crowdfund via an Indiegogo campaign. As CEO, Andrew Artishchev, wrote on LiveMap’s Indiegogo page:

Russian venture funds are not disposed to invest into hardware startups. They prefer to back up clones of successful services like Groupon, Airnb, Zappos, Yelp, Booking, etc. They are not interested in producing hardware either.

All told, they are seeking to raise $150,000 to make press molds for the helmet capsule. At present, they have raised $5,989 with 31 days remaining. Naturally, prizes have been offered, ranging from thank yous and a poster (for donations of $1 to $25) to a test drive in a major city (Berlin, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Barcelona) for $100, and a grand prize of a helmet itself for a donation of $1500.

ar_helmet3And of course, the company has announced that they have some “Stretched Goals”, just in case people want to help them overshoot their mandate of $150,000. For 300 000$, they will include a Bluetooth with a headset profile to their helmet, and for 500 000$, they will merge a built-in high-resolution 13Mpix photo&video camera. Good to have goals.

Personally, I’d help sponsor this, except for the fact that I don’t have motorbike and wouldn’t know how to use it if I did. But a long drive across the autobahn or the Amber Route would be totally boss! Speaking of which, check out the company’s promotional video:

Sources: news.cnet.com, indiegogo.com

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