Voice-controlled GPS helmet to help bikers

Motorcyclists will no longer have to rely on maps or GPS systems, both of which require riders to take their eyes off the road, once a new Russian smart helmet goes on sale this summer.

(LIVEMAP) – Russian engineers have developed a motorcycle helmet that uses smart technology to make the often difficult navigation of busy city streets potentially a thing of the past.

Start-up company LiveMap’s android-based helmet has in-built Global Positioning System (GPS), voice control, and a heads-up display system that allows the rider to access navigational information without looking away from the road.

The helmet will provide a referencing map for the motorcyclist on the go, using the GPS system to display navigational information as full-colour translucent images onto the visor of the helmet.

CEO of LiveMap and the brainchild of the helmet, Andrew Artshchev, says his creation was inspired by aviation helmets used by fighter pilots.

“I learnt about the concept of aviation helmets and decided to create a civil motorcycling helmet on that model, which would show not target detection for pilots but navigational information: to turn right or left and so on,” said Artshchev.

Artshchev said the mobile computing head gear will use aspheric lenses (non-spherical) for optics to render the wearable lighter. The technology of Pico Projector, a mobile projector located in the upper back of the helmet, will allow the rider to have a clear and high resolution display on the visor of the helmet.

Creators say the images generated via the microdisplay and onto the visor of the helmet will be in focus, full colour and translucent enough to give an unobstructed view of the road.

Artshchev believes his creation is an improvement to the display systems of aviation helmets.

“We invented the special technology and you can see that the glass is transparent and white. Aviation helmets have a slightly green tone in the glass – this is a holographic surface coating to reflect the green wavelength and so the image is green,” says Artshchev.

“We have a transparent image. The reflection happens not by means of the coating but by the means of a complicated form of the surface of this visor imitation. As a result the image is reflected fully with all the wavelengths and the image is full-colour.”

The project is being developed with the support of the Russian Ministry of Science, which has donated over 14 million roubles (250,000 USD) to LiveMap.

LiveMap has developed its own interface for the helmet to ensure only navigational referencing is projected onto the visor.

Artshchev says he is confident the helmet’s ‘heads-up’ display system will strengthen road safety for motorcyclists.

“When you use a classic navigator you have to take your eyes off the road and look down. That’s why the military developed display projections and helmets that are called ‘head-up display systems’. What does ‘head-up’ mean? It means your head in an up-right position – head-up. So you are looking at the road and not down at devices. The result is that you are not distracted from the road to look at the dashboard. The head is always facing up; you are seeing navigational information as well as the road. This is far safer,” said Artshchev.

The company intends to unveil its final prototype in May in the United States, before launching the product later in August 2015.

The first markets the voice-controlled helmet will target include the United States, England, Canada and Australia. The recognition system works with 90 percent success when commands are given in English. Next year will see the release of helmets capable in Russian and six other languages.

Artshchev tells Reuters his dreams travel beyond road referencing – he has set his sights on police forces.

The mobile technology is charged via USB, similar to a smart phone and works for between four to five hours.

LiveMap hopes to keep the helmet at under three pounds (1.36 kilograms) in weight, using carbon fibre construction for the body.

The helmet will come with a price tag of $2,000 USD.