Finally, a USEFUL smart device: Intel boffins cook up gyro-magneto-'puter bike helmet

Apple, eat your heart out


Five Intel interns from Oregon State University have devised an Atom-powered bike helmet that calls home if the rider crashes.

The smart helmet protects the bike rider, plays music and receives calls from a smartphone if there is a crash. A silent, unresponsive cyclist? An emergency number gets automatically called to get help.

Sounds a fun project. This oh-so-clever helmet contains:

  • Intel Edison wearable device Atom computer
  • Bluetooth radio
  • Magnetometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Two accelerometers to detect a sudden impact
  • Communications hardware to call pre-set emergency contact number
  • Above-the-ear speakers
  • Microphone
  • LED headlight

The clever clogs cranial cover

Power comes from a 3.7V, 2600mAh lithium-ion battery. There is an accompanying Android smartphone app that records the bike rider's distance travelled, speed and the ride track, controls the LED light and communicates with the helmet if there is a bang.


Smart Helmet features captured from the video below

As we understand it, if this clever cranial cover detects a sudden impact, it uses Bluetooth to connect to the smartphone and trigger the app. This then sends a message to the bike rider through the speakers: "Do you need help?" or somesuch.

The bike rider says: "Yes" if they need help, or nothing at all which comes to the same thing, and the smartphone calls the pre-set number and says there is an emergency and specifies the location.

Youtube Video

The mike and speakers can also be used for hands-free calling by the rider or for streaming music.

Okay, this is an undergrad/intern project, and great fun too, but, conceivably, think hats, like baseball caps, or actual helmets for cycle and motor bike riders and anyone involved in hazardous sports who wears a bonk shell. Stick in a camera and you have an upmarket head cover that people might actually buy.

Think divers - we're on a roll here - and sub-aquanauts could use wearable computers with sensors to record dive parameters, monitor air-tank status and depth, take pictures and videos, and advise on ascent rates when returning to the surface.

Think helmets for emergency responders like fire folks, helmets for soldiers, pilots, cavers, climbers, racing motorcyclists, race car drivers - anyone and everyone who wears cranial covers.

These Intel interns have come up with a great idea. The smart helmet. It's going to happen. You just know it. It's definitely more useful than half the other "smart gear" the tech titans are attempting to foist on us. ®

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