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Retro-fit heads-up display system for motorcycle and bicycle helmets


June 4, 2004

Pre-production units
successfully tested

Pre-production units
successfully tested

Image Gallery (4 images)

Fighter pilots have had it for years but Formula One drivers have only just begun experimenting with heads-up displays, so it was unexpected to find Motion Research Corporation showing their forthcoming consumer heads-up display for motorcycle and bicycle helmets at last Friday's 23rd Annual Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in Seattle.

The SportVue heads-up display for motorcycles and other motion sports is on the leading-edge of a wave of new technology for sports enthusiasts and has the potential to change the way motion sports users acquire and benefit from information.

SportVue is a very lightweight helmet and visor-mounted heads-up display unit driven by a compact GPS transceiver. The user sees a real-time display of critical data projected into the field of vision (as seen in the pics below). Without head movement, a user can access speed, distance, location and other info, greatly enhancing performance and safety. The patented technology was developed with assistance from the Human Interface Technology (HIT) Laboratory at the University of Washington.

Dr. Thomas Furness of the HIT Lab, said 'SportVue represents the first truly usable and affordable application of heads-up display technology for sports enthusiasts. This is an exciting step forward in safety for riders of all types.

'Pre-production SportVue units have been successfully tested in Formula 1 and Indy car racing, on motorcycles, bicycles and go-karts. Production versions will be available in May 2004. MRC founder and former professional race car driver, Dominic Dobson, said 'Head-Mounted Displays are truly the next big step in sports equipment. SportVue will revolutionise motorcycle riding by providing safe and easy access to the data riders need.

The motorcycle version is available now.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Next they will be adding a Bluetooth link to smartphones so people can text as they motorcycle down the road.

I can see this as being great for helicopter pilots but a motorcycle rider should be paying attention to the road when in the city and if in the country the GPS is only going to be useful for a speed check. With a bicyclist pedaling along at 10-15mph this device provides even less value. But one that would work underwater and provided GPS coordinates to a diver, now that would be fantastic.


@Calson I think the point of a heads up display is that you don\'t HAVE TO take your eyes off the road. I ride a motorcycle and think this is a great idea. The less I have to look down and squint at a GPS or to check my speed, the better.

Jay Lloyd

First I think it is a great idea. But trying to find more information about this product I found this review: http://www.bikeland.org/story.php?storyID=24656 They also like the idea but they also state it could use or better need some improvement.


Read the bikeland review and you\'ll see that this unit is not waterproof, is not plug & play and seems to be a good concept, poorly executed. That\'s a shame, as looking down at a GPS screen is never a good idea on any bike. Then there\'s the harness hacking & running your bike at top speed, in all gears, on a paddock stand to calibrate the device...Nooo! Great idea, now please go back to the drawing board, design a waterproof unit with heavy-duty Velcro attachment to (any), helmet, which has an integral Lithium battery that may be charged from any USB cable, which has wireless connectivity via a GPS module in the \"base unit\", so requires no more installation than to stick it under your saddle or in a topbox. Perhaps a simple power cable with in-line fuse would be acceptable, with a GPS antenna mounted atop your windscreen or similar location - also connected via quick-disconnect, waterproof plug to the base unit. Any more wiring than that, in this electronic era, would be completely unnecessary.

Nick Herbert
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