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SMART bike helmet monitors its wearer's heart rate


March 6, 2013

LifeBEAM's SMART bicycle helmet in use

LifeBEAM's SMART bicycle helmet in use

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While a lot of serious cyclists like to check their heart rate while riding, not everyone enjoys having a monitor strapped to their chest ... especially if they’re getting hot and sweaty. A couple of the engineers at Tel-Aviv-based tech firm LifeBEAM felt that way, so they adapted some of the company’s existing aerospace technology to create something new – the heart rate-monitoring SMART bicycle helmet.

LifeBEAM had already created a miniaturized sensing platform by the name of Quantum, for use in the helmets of fighter pilots. Developed in cooperation with the Israeli Air Force, it’s able to monitor a pilot’s heart rate, blood flow, and oxygen saturation while in flight. Should it detect a potentially life-threatening condition such as hypoxia, both the pilot and the ground crew are alerted.

Utilizing some of the same principles as Quantum, the SMART helmet utilizes a sweat-resistant optical sensor mounted on the inside front of the helmet, that gently touches the user’s forehead. That sensor is able to measure the wearer’s pulse, and transmits the raw data to a processing unit in the back of the helmet.

That unit contains a 3-axis accelerometer, which it uses to distinguish between the heart rate data and artifacts caused by movement. The cleaned-up and processed data is subsequently transmitted by Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+ to the cyclist’s smartphone, fitness watch or cycling computer, where it’s displayed in real time on the device’s screen.

"A chest strap can chafe and irritate while the SMART is completely invisible to the user," LifeBEAM's Itai Maron told us. "You'll never forget to wear it and will not think twice whether to use it or not."

The sensor and processing unit weigh a combined 50 grams (1.8 oz), and will run for at least 15 hours on one charge of their lithium-ion battery. They are currently integrated into a stock Lazer Sport GENESIS helmet, which is included as part of the package. Down the road, LifeBEAM may integrate the system into a variety of other helmets.

The company is currently raising production funds for the SMART helmet, on Indiegogo. A pledge of US$149 will get you one, when and if the funding goal is reached. More information is available in the pitch video below.

Source: LifeBEAM

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

looks good

Robin Pomfret

Would love to see this integrated with Google Glass


The heart rate monitor is perhaps the only useful feature. www.youtube.com/watch?v=07o-TASvIxY


Good idea but needs to work with users existing helmets. Different helmets work better for certain applications like trail riding with a mountain bike as compared to riding down a highway in a tuck position.

The helmet should also monitor body temperature which would be a great safety feature when bicycling on very hot days on pavement which throws up the heat absorbed from the sun and reflects it back to the rider. On hot days and especially in humid conditions the body has a difficult time not overheading and the result can be heat stroke and death even for well-conditioned atheletes.

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