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Skully seeking beta testers for Augmented Reality motorcycle helmet


January 8, 2014

The Skully AR-1 helmet give the rider a heads-up display of real-time information and a vi...

The Skully AR-1 helmet give the rider a heads-up display of real-time information and a view of the road behind (Photo: Skully Helmets)

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Distraction, disruption, destruction. While enjoying a ride, you check your GPS, or check your six, and just at that moment an oncoming car decides to make a quick turn right in your path, or a car comes at speed out of a side road. Proper gear is important to survive in such situations, but avoiding them is even better. Enter the Skully AR-1 augmented reality helmet, with a voice-controlled heads-up display (HUD) that provides rear and side view video, bike data, GPS instructions, and phone and music utilities.

The Skully AR-1 is not the only augmented reality helmet aimed at motorcycle riders; others are under development by Reevu and LiveMap , and companies like NuViz are working on add-on HUD displays for existing helmets. However, these are generally expected to be on the market in a year or two, while Skully is currently nearing its first production runs.

The AR-1 in hand, ready for a ride (Photo: Skully Helmets)

So what does the Skully AR-1 bring to the table? Safety being first, this ultra high performance full-face motorcycle helmet is rigorously tested to ensure it meets both DOT (Department of Transport) and ECE (Economic Commission for Europe) safety standards. Wind tunnel testing defined the shape of the lightweight, aerodynamic fiberglass shell, while inner padding keeps the helmet comfortable and in place in the most extreme conditions.

Beyond safety and good lines, the AR-1 helmet offers a transparent Android-driven HUD display projected on the lower right side of the helmet's visor. The helmet's sensor array includes a rear view camera with a 180 degree field of view, allowing the rider to concentrate on the road ahead while still maintaining situational awareness. Also included are an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a thermometer, and a compass.

The Skully AR-1 HUD showing a set of complex GPS directions (Photo: Skully Helmets)

The HUD display can also be used to display (and voice) GPS navigational directions, display maps, and interact with a Bluetooth-equipped smartphone. The GPS display comes with two interfaces, one very simple to indicate the occasional turn, while the other is reserved for more complex trips. All control is hands-free, based on voice recognition software.

The Skully AR-1 appears to be a well integrated package of safety, functionality, and good looks. The one extra I would like to see is a smartphone app with a Bluetooth dongle that could connect to the bike's instrumentation, which would then be made available on the HUD. I'm hoping it is already in the works.

Anyone can sign up as a potential beta tester for the Skully AR-1. The company's criteria for selection are not known, but it is safe to say that, given the expected US$1,000 retail price, more attention will probably be given folks who ride serious bikes.

The company introduces the AR-1 in the video below.

Source: Skully Helmets

About the Author
Brian Dodson From an early age Brian wanted to become a scientist. He did, earning a Ph.D. in physics and embarking on an R&D career which has recently broken the 40th anniversary. What he didn't expect was that along the way he would become a patent agent, a rocket scientist, a gourmet cook, a biotech entrepreneur, an opera tenor and a science writer.   All articles by Brian Dodson

Really cool

Mark Smith
8th January, 2014 @ 10:17 am PST

Sounds interesting to me, especially for longer trips

Felix Bayer
8th January, 2014 @ 12:56 pm PST

"Your Honour, we have seized evidence that shows the defendant regularly exeeded speed limits..."

8th January, 2014 @ 02:18 pm PST

It's a "head up" display (singular)!

"heads up" is a term used by administrators.

8th January, 2014 @ 04:13 pm PST

Went to sign up as a beta tester and Skully wants to know what company I work for. Why would that matter? If I put NSA do you think I'd get a better shot at the beta test?

9th January, 2014 @ 08:15 am PST

I thought they already had 30 plus thousands of people who wanted to try their toy, and they now want more? Something stinks.. I can't put my finger on it yet, but if this is real. How is it not available and they are still looking for BETA testers...

Dave Smith
10th January, 2014 @ 08:53 am PST

looks cool and hope nothing but success for skully. That said here's how to make your own HMD for under a 100 bucks.

8th February, 2014 @ 11:04 pm PST

It appears to be an outstanding concept for the bike rider. But how is the helmet in real life riding? Will you be able to hear the audio while traveling at high speeds. I ride a Suzuki Boulevard M109R and my interstate cruise speed is 85 MPH. Will the Skully be able to function with that type wind noise. I would enjo putting your helmet through a few test.

Charles Morris
14th February, 2014 @ 01:10 am PST

Everything except the phone - the phone is dangerous and no doubt Skully knows it.

Paul Giles
12th August, 2014 @ 01:02 am PDT

I'd love to test this out

Joseph Turuc
10th January, 2015 @ 07:23 am PST
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