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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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JonD | 7 years ago
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Some assorted points for those that don't realise some of the technical issues:

Image transfer wirelessly (rather than wired ) requires

a) extra power in the transmit/receive section of the devices concenerned (ever notice that your phone discharges quicker if you leave wifi enabled ?) - plus extra complexity, which doesn't come free.

b) in the case of a rearward camera, a high enough pixel count in the image sensor and high enough frame rate to make it useful, which kicks all bluetooth options into touch because the data rate isn't high enough (fastest bluetooth is very approx 1/10 of the rate you'd need for a simple 1kx1k 8bit image at 25 fps)

A glasses-only option needs power (and ever more where gps is concerned) via a battery/cells mounted on the glasses - the big problem is that battery size is limited by weight distribution within the glasses and battery format , not to mention the rest of the electronics.

Funnily enough, combining the helmet and glasses - or at least, glasses and retrofit kit for the helmet (as suggested lower in the article) might allow for high battery capacity by being able to spread the weight of the battery within the helmet.

 

FWIW as a recumbent rider  - ie looking rearward properly is near impossible  - I use a glasses-mounted mirror which makes a big difference re seeing what's going on behind - image quality ain't great but it's as good as I can currently expect. Would I buy a HUD setup ? - probably not, but then I said the same of GPS units 10+yrs ago...

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Mungecrundle | 7 years ago
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And I have a telephone that also allows me to browse the web, post drivel onto forums, locate my GPS position, know the time in Reykjavik, play movies, holds my record collection, allows me to video conference with my boss in the USA, play games, incorporates a small flashlight, takes pretty decent pictures and just this morning I installed an app created by my son that translates words and speech into Italian. Oh and it also has a calculator and dozens of other functions and sensors which I don't even know about.

That's not to say I need it to Bluetooth connect with my cycle kit. I think I can live without that.

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darrylxxx | 7 years ago
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Neat enough concept, but like mike the bike says, having the camera integrated is a bit limiting. It would interesting to have the camera as optional but with bluetooth/wifi connection to on-bike GoPro (other makes are available).

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mike the bike | 7 years ago
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People seem to be fascinated by the idea of combining two perfectly good gadgets into one clunky design.  I once had a pen that contained a clock.  Why?  I still have an alarm clock that displays the room temperature.  Who thought that was a fun idea?

You just know this thing will be fragile, expensive, a thief-magnet and the screen won't work on sunny or rainy days.

And, as justification for bringing this idea to fruition, Mr Price describes his inability to plan the road ahead.  I wish him well.

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ktache replied to mike the bike | 7 years ago
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mike the bike wrote:

 

  I still have an alarm clock that displays the room temperature.  Who thought that was a fun idea?

 

You have an alarm clock that wakes you from a comfortable slumber that that then goes on to tell you how horribly early it is and not only that, how freezing cold it is in the bedroom.

Did someone who doesn't like you buy you that as a present?

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mike the bike replied to ktache | 7 years ago
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ktache wrote:
mike the bike wrote:

 

  I still have an alarm clock that displays the room temperature.  Who thought that was a fun idea?

 

...... Did someone who doesn't like you buy you that as a present?

 

That narrows it down only slightly.

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dst replied to mike the bike | 7 years ago
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mike the bike wrote:

 

People seem to be fascinated by the idea of combining two perfectly good gadgets into one clunky design.  I once had a pen that contained a clock.  Why?  I still have an alarm clock that displays the room temperature.  Who thought that was a fun idea?

I get your point, but occasionally it does work very well.

Remember the calculator watch? That was really useful in maths exams.

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