By David Ponce
The Smart Helmet, from professor/inventor Ted Selker packs so many useful features, that if it was ever commercialized, it could very well revolutionize anyone’s cycling experience. And, we’re not saying this lightly. On the outside, it retains its regular BMX helmet appearance, but Selker has managed to fit a bevvy of electronic components, such as a PIC controller, an accelerometer, a GPS unit, a microphone and speakers, Bluetooth module, etc. What can he do with all this?
It can play music or audio books, with hook-ups for an iPod or tape cassette. It can record speech through built-in microphones, and GPS (Global Positioning System) warns the wearer of hazards on a given route. It also can detect important sounds like a fire siren to mute music when necessary. It has a Motorola cell phone with Bluetooth installed so a bicyclist can talk on the phone, hands-free.
Also, wearers can tip their heads to the left to turn the left-side blinker on at the back of the helmet. Set the helmet down on a kitchen counter and it will turn itself off, thanks to installed motion detectors. If the wearer yells at an unruly motorist, the helmet will activate a horn at a higher decibel than the human noise. Selker said this feature helps keep him out of trouble with motorists.
In development since 2001, Selker imagines the device to sell for about $200 if it was ever commercialized, though there seems to be no concrete plans for this.