An augmented reality helmet has won "Best of the Best" at the Red Dot Design Awards. The Optic helmet concept, developed by British design firm DCM, gives cyclists a 360-degree view of the road as well as providing GPS navigation information and journey statistics.
Fitted with a rear-view camera, Optic can live-stream the footage on the drop-down visor. Live Science reports that it can also alert the wearer to potential collisions by combining data from front and rear-view cameras with information provided by ultrasonic sensors on the front and back of the helmet.
Designer Richard Price also said that he wanted the rear-view camera to be obvious so that approaching drivers would hopefully realise that their actions were being recorded. (There would be a memory card within the helmet.)
Explaining the benefits of a heads-up display over simply turning your head, Price said: "There have been times when I've been cycling to work where there's been some obstacle in the road or a junction and I've had to look over my shoulder while signalling. When you do that, often something suddenly appears in front of you and there's been quite a few times where I've had to slam on my brakes."
At this stage, the helmet is just a concept design, but Price said Google Glass had already shown that it was feasible. He did however add that commercialising the device would require a considerable investment.
Dan Salisbury, who worked on the helmet with Price, said that discussions with helmet manufacturers had led them to consider whether a kit that could be fitted to existing helmets might be a more viable option.
"Some people might want a more aggressive sporty style or a more vintage one. That's why it might make more sense to create technology that doesn't come with a helmet, but fits to one you already have."