Iconic helmet manufacturer Bell has teamed up with camera company 360fly to produce a new generation of smart helmets for a variety of sporting disciplines. But it was specifically the new Bell Star motorcycling helmet that really caught our attention. The carbon lid which has yet to be released will incorporate 360fly’s innovative, 360-degree, 4K camera (which is also capable of shooting 16x9 video) into the dome of the helmet.
The helmet will also feature built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so that the rider can edit and share videos while out shooting; all controlled through their specially designed iOS and Android mobile app. A barometer, altimeter and accelerometer should also create the opportunity for some very interesting data tracking (not confirmed) and the integrated GPS should make location tagging a breeze.
Unfortunately all of this power comes at a cost, because the batteries only last for two hours. But for riders who enjoy recording their quick country blasts and daily commutes, this technology has the potential to be a huge step forward. Cameras like the DriftHD have been very popular with the motorcycling community due to their streamlined shape and adjustable camera lens. But for anyone who has actually used one, you’ll have noticed that there is significant drag on the helmet when riding quickly. There is also the danger that they can compromise the safety of the helmet in the event of an accident (one of the reasons helmet cams were originally banned from the Dakar rally). The Bell’s incorporated camera should be able to by-pass all of these issues.
Now granted, an integrated camera doesn’t exactly make this lid a smart helmet, but Bell and 360fly are planning to introduce some exciting new features over the coming years, including Collision Avoidance Alert. The camera will be able to identify dangers which are outside of the rider’s field of vision and automatically warn the rider. We’ve seen this technology on cars for years, but with motorcyclists making up a significant number of fatalities on the roads, this could be revolutionary.
Prices for the helmet have not been released yet but we can expect a premium price of around £900 (the current Bell Star retails for around £500 and the 360fly camera costs £430). If you want to have a look at one before they are released later this year, you’ll have to get yourself to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.