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Android Displays Input Devices Transportation

Android Motorcycle Helmet/HUD Gains Funding 126

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the 80s-future-realized dept.
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes Skully Systems has achieved Indiegogo funding for a high-tech Android 4.4 based motorcycle helmet with a head-up display (HUD), GPS navigation, and a 180-degree rearview camera. The Skully AR-1 helmet launched on Indiegogo on Aug. 10 and quickly blasted past its $250,000 flexible funding goal and has already surpassed $900,000 in funding. The helmet runs a heavily modified version of Android 4.4, with both screen size and safety in mind, according to Skully's Tow. 'You should not think of it as being Android as seen in a phone; it doesn't run the same skin,' wrote Tow on the Skully forum page. 'You instead should think of it as a variant of Linux, not Android per se. What counts is the device drivers, graphics rendering for our turn by turn directions and vehicle telemetry, etc. More nerdy things like communication over the I2C bus to the image processing module.' Helmets are available starting at $1,399, with shipments due in May 2015.
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Android Motorcycle Helmet/HUD Gains Funding

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  • by funwithBSD (245349) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @10:54AM (#47663479)

    Except a standard $100 helmet vrs a standard $500 helmet is a huge improvement in safety and feature set.

    The question is: is this a $100 helmet with $1299 of gadgets, or a $500 helmet with $799 of gadgets.

    Maybe there will be a niche for this product, but I don't know of but a handful of motorcyclists interested in the helmet.

  • Re:High Pricepoint (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @11:02AM (#47663531)

    This is literally the "the world's first" consumer-level helmet like this, there's no competition yet. Once it's been out for a year, competitors will appear and you can get your own SKOLEY brand knock-off at WalMart for just $199.99!
     
      But seriously, people pay $600 for new smart phones, and helmets with nothing but bluetooth start around $200. The price of this brand may never go down, but cheap knock-offs will show up eventually!
     
    captcha: novelty ;)

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @11:03AM (#47663539) Homepage

    I'm a motorcycle rider and racer for over 40 year. This helmet scares me.

    First, this little detail: "The “highly weather resistant” helmet is made of a “lightweight, aerodynamic” polycarbonate shell, says Skully Systems."

    Polycarbonate - OK, that's the material used in low-end helmets (sub $200). In the $300+ category, we have fiberglass and carbon fiber. PC tends to craze (small cracks) when exposed to UV. I've seen a PC helmet crack in half when it fell off the bike and hit the concrete. Just from the material, I'm not interested.

    Second - When I watched the video, I found the lower right display too distracting. Riding a bike in traffic, you never know when some idot will run a stop sign, or pull out in traffic. You need to be able to pick up any movement as you scan for threats. This adds distraction. Distraction on a motorcycle kills. Kills you dead.

    Third - Did you see how most of the testimonials come from non-riders? There was a "tire expert" (WTF is that?) and only one racer/builder. So I think this is a bunch of tech guys putting together a somewhat-cheap helmet, as a way to sell cool tech.

    Over time, this may (should?) evolve into something that works well. But I fear this will turn into the motorcycle-equivalent of the texting-while-driving problem.

  • by Pope (17780) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @11:40AM (#47663851)

    And here I thought it was just a death wish.. Driving a motorcycle seems like a dangerous way to get places during rush hour. Driving a car scares me enough, I'd hate to be out there on two wheels trying to doge the stupid people, the gravel, AND the guy behind me who obviously don't pay attention to anything smaller than what they are driving.

    So, why does that middle aged woman bring her Harley to work most of the time? I thought she did it for the parking space, because your above theory just doesn't apply to her.

    Because they're fun to ride. If you're scared of being in a car already, then a motorcycle isn't for you.

  • by Altus (1034) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @02:05PM (#47664995) Homepage

    One of the issues with age and helmets is that the core materials can degrade with time. People like to say that helmet tech gets better and safer and it does, but an old style helmet is still a lot better than nothing.

    The best reason to replace your helmet every 5 or so years is that they styrofoam can break down and that can significantly reduce the usefulness of the helmet.

    Also, every time you fill up that bike the styrofoam inside is exposed to a solvent. Gasoline vapor. Sure, its not going to dissolve it over night but 18 years? you might be pushing your luck. Still it is pretty much impossible to quantify the condition of the inside of a helmet. Some companies will test them to see if they are still usable after a minor accident but that process is not worth the cost unless the helmet is very expensive. All things considered it is best to replace them if you have had an accident. I'm not even sure if that testing would show solvent damage or if it just shows where the styrofoam has been deformed by impact.

    That said, if you are going to ride with that or nothing.... go with your old Arai.

  • Re:Oh man (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Blrfl (46596) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:47PM (#47665959) Homepage

    I mean you're looking at less than $100 in raw parts for GPS + Arduino + HD Camera + display controller/OSD. Not sure about the HUD part but I believe it's just a projection on a small piece of glass, probably also less than $100 in parts by itself not to mention alternative hardware implementations that might be cheaper. Add $300 for a decent helmet, wire it up and you're done.

    Yep, and what you'll have when you finish is a kludged-up helmet that does nothing unless you manage to source the hard-to-obtain Arduino Motorcycle Helmet Edition that does all of the navigation, phone interface, etc. You're also assuming you'll get it completely right the first time. which you won't, because nobody does. Price in a few helmets and at least two sets of hardware and you're already into the same price as a finished AR1. Don't forget the value of your time to do all of the hardware integration and write all of that nifty software.

    More fun: Your modifications will invalidate any safety certifications the helmet you started with, making it not legal for road use almost everywhere. As a free bonus, you'll get to ride around with a niggling question in the back of your head about whether or not the helmet will do its job properly during a crash.

    Personally I think I would find the HUD hardware incredibly distracting. Not the HUD itself mind you, but the stalk that sticks up in front of your eye.

    If the photos I've seen reflect what will be produced, it doesn't stick up any further than the breath guard, is in a location where vision is not all that important and isn't any larger than Legal Speeding's H.A.R.D., which is often installed in the same spot.

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