Augmented reality cycle helmet concept wins design award

Features rear-view camera which streams footage to visor

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."

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