Augmented reality is one of the buzzwords bubbling under right now, and bikers are poised to reap the rewards. Bikesure, the free-thinking insurance broker, takes a look at the technological innovations that could change the way we ride bikes forever.
Heads up displays have been a vital part in military hardware for decades now, and this technology has been moving from aircraft to civilian cars to the faces of people willing to look a bit stupid and now bikers. Recently hitting the Indiegogo crowdfunding site for pre-orders, the Skully AR-1 has so far raised nearly 2 million dollars from bikers excited at the possibilities of what is described as “the world’s smartest motorcycle helmet”.
Incorporating GPS navigation, a rearview camera and a heads-up display the Skully is also a sleek, futuristic piece of design that will allow you to finally live out your childhood fantasies of driving Street Hawk. And while the price may seem pretty steep, considering how much you could spend on a high-end helmet, smartphone, cameras and GPS to replicate the same functionality in a more cumbersome form, it is understandable why so many people have been coming forward to give the manufacturers money.
Indeed, the Skully is not the only high tech helmet being prepared. The Livemap is a similar project, except without a rearview camera. Also slated to launch some time in 2015 for about the same cost, it’s a slightly academic point at this stage which is the better option.
For anyone who only wants to be able to see what’s happening behind them without using their wing mirrors, the Reevu delivers just that. Unlike the Skully this is done without electronics. Instead it uses an advanced reflective inner structure to extend your peripheral vision a full 360 degrees, without obstructing your normal forward view.
If you’re particularly happy with your current helmet and don’t want to break the bank investing in a new one, then you might want to look at the Nuviz, a HUD unit designed to clip onto your existing helmet and integrate with your smartphone. Being an addition to an existing helmet means the Nuviz lacks voice control, with menus being controlled via a Bluetooth interface.
One concern that all these systems have and that seems most apparent with the Nuviz is the potential for distraction. While the display is discretely tucked in the corner of your vision, the idea of having to flip manually through menus while setting up a new destination or making a call does seem potentially risky.
Meanwhile, the BikeHUD is available right now, and manufactured in the UK if supporting the home teams is important to you. This one gives you information about your speed, can integrate with a GPS app on your phone for routefinding and can be upgraded with a database of safety cameras. It does require installation of a few extra components on the bike itself. The BikeHUD is designed not to be a distraction, only providing the information you need.
Of course, while the manufacturers of these devices will do everything they can to ensure they comply with the law before they get released, it’s always a good idea to make sure you only ever use stuff that’s legal where you’re at, and that they meet MOT requirements etc.