Smart Helmets and Dumb Drivers

Smart Helmets and Dumb Drivers

The concept of using a sensor laden helmet is nothing new.  My first thoughts of this type of bike helmet were brought about by the QuickFire sensor lab last quarter.  The smart helmet term is something coined to describe a helmet that has sensors on it.   Truth be told, wearing a helmet is fundamentally the smart thing to do.  I can attest since bomping my noggin at the skate park with my son.  Actually, I’ve known that fact for much longer.  With that said, don’t be stupid, just wear your friggin helmet!

I was able to find a helmet pre marketed from LifeBEAM that provided biometric information.  The information was captured with a sensor built in the bike helmet.  Then that data sent to a phone using bluetooth.  The phone app then processes, stores, or displays the details back to the rider.  The developer also had some other offerings.

If biometric data seems smart, what about the environment around?  I get blown away by some folks on my rides.  I’m not talking about pro athletes blasting past me, I’m talking about heavy peddle diesel truck drivers.  The over rev during a pass by is an unspoken language of aggression.  To my relief, my ebike offers me a no huff solution, I’ll just hold my breath.  This isn’t offered to the puritan bicyclist.

An article released in October of 2013 said what we already knew for a long time.  Air pollution is bad.  Really!?

I’ve seen articles, documentaries, and demonstrations on the effects of coal dust in transit on railway systems.  The “stuff” is nasty.  Some clever methods of binding the material is currently used to keep the dust to a minimum.  As with anything, there will be some margin of fault.  This UW-Bothell team is monitoring the margin using environmental monitoring.

The sensor package demo here for monitoring environmental quality really got my attention.  It was a small and compact package that could do a lot in terms of information.  Similar attempts at this have been taken on, monitoring dust or particulate matter in the air.  A paper published at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology sheds some light on the concept further.

Environmental Sensor







Using sensors that are more than novel can really rank a helmet as smart.  Why not do it!  Knowing the quality of bike routes could be made available.  Conditional trends could be mapped and provided to the public.  With this awareness, riders can make informed decisions on what routes to take that benefit them the most.

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