A new helmet project is about to get funded on Kickstarter that will combine integrated turn signals, an inertia-activated brake light, and blind spot monitoring into sleek looking urban hardshell head protection. The new Classon is all about putting the latest visibility and safety tech on the heads of riders to give more confidence and security to city cyclists and bike commuters in the hopes of luring more people onto the bike. Even though it sounds a bit complicated, the intelligent bike helmet concept is about simplicity. All of the tech features are designed to neatly integrate into a relatively normal looking helmet, and to be intuitive to use without much rider input. Crowdfunding of the project is already close to hitting the NY-based company Brooklyness’ target, so jump past the break for a closer look and some details…
The Classon’s main tech tricks are the blind spot detection, gesture controlled turn signals, and inertia brake lights, all of which work pretty much automatically.
Blind spot detection works by employing front and rear facing cameras that scan wherever you are riding. By way of some processing power (a pair of 1 Ghz chips) built into the helmet, the Classon translates what the sensors pick up into a simple visual cue to the adjustable brightness LEDs integrated into the helmet’s visor. Working in your peripheral vision, the small LED blinks when something like a car approaches from behind.
The small turn signals require a bit of input, but are actually just gesture based. The directional indicator lights in both the front and rear of the helmet are activated by standard turning hand signals. The helmet detects when you move your arm out to the side to signal a turn and matches that with an orange turn signal light to boost visibility.
The brake light is even more simple. A built-in accelerometer senses quick deceleration and automatically lights up to cue others around you to your actions. We’ve been using this type of tech in an excellent brake light from Lupine for a couple of years, and look forward to seeing it integrated in more lights and products as it becomes more affordable/accessible.
The Classon helmet can also be paired with its own app to add even more functionality. Using those same small LEDs in the visor, the app can be used for navigation. Put in your destination and the lights will flash to direct you where to turn without having to take your eyes off the road. You’ll apparently be able to stream video from the on-board camera to the app too. The video is automatically recorded to 4GB of internal memory (for up to 6hr of captured footage), so you’ve got that helmet cam footage for a backup in case of an accident, plus you can use it to make ride videos or even live stream your commute out to the world.
Of course all of this streaming tech means you’ll need a subscription service to keep full functionality. But in a pretty cool move, part of the “Classon Club” membership is a full crash replacement deal too. So when you are a subscription member and your helmet gets damaged, they’ll replace it for free.
The helmet of course gives you crash protections as well, with both EN and CPSC certifications. The 480g lid even was designed to incorporate a large hole on both sides so it can be easily locked up with your bike. The helmet has a 2.5hr ridetime battery, and takes just an hour to charge by USB. It will come in 3 sizes to fit a wide range of youth and adult heads, and 5 colors to fit anyone’s style.
Brooklyness is made up of a team with years of experience putting out products, and has partnered with a helmet manufacturer that already produces for some of the biggest names in the industry. Their Kickstarter campaign is about getting their production tooling up and running. Building and certifying a helmet isn’t really a very quick process though. While Brooklyness has brought other products successfully to market through crowdfunding, and they are already at their target funding goal on this one, producing and testing the production helmet means that earliest delivery of the Classon isn’t expected until mid spring 2017.
But if that all sounds cool with you, there are still early bird helmet deals to be had on their Kickstarter, which runs for another four weeks. $150 will get you a Classon helmet, plus 6 months of their club subscription service. $200 will get you a pair of them. The helmet is expected to sell at retail for $300 once it is available, plus $10 a month or $100 a year for the Classon Club subscription.