High-Tech Helmet Brings Augmented Reality To Motorcycles

While companies like BMW and Mercedes are bringing heads-up displays to automobiles, motorcyclists have largely been ignored, until now. The Skully AR-1 helmet promises an augmented reality experience for two-wheel riders, no windshield required.

The $1,499 Skully AR-1's main highlight is a heads-up display system that will project important information such as turn-by-turn directions approximately 10 feet in front of the driver. It will also feature a near 180 degree rearview and blindspot camera, music controls and internet and smartphone connections via bluetooth. Pre-orders are being taken now through Skully's Indiegogo campaign, with current backers receiving a $100 discount. The first batch of orders are scheduled to ship in May 2015.

"The AR-1 is our little dent in the universe" said Dr. Marcus Weller, founder and CEO of Skully. Weller was inspired by his own motorcycle mishap in 2011 where he adverted his eyes for a second to read a sign, and crashed into the car in front of him that had slammed on its brakes. He says the accident could have been prevented with an augmented reality helmet, and when he realized that one didn’t exist, he decided to create his own.

The Skully AR-1 has already won awards such as Best Wearable Technology at South by Southwest 2014, and aside from its impressive tech specs, also offers a number of safety features. The helmet will have an anti-fog and anti-glare, scratch-resistant visor, quick-release chinstrap and flow-through ventilation packaged in a lightweight, aerodynamic shell.

Weller is hoping the Skully can help prevent accidents and that the "AR-1 will introduce a new era in intelligent transportation by combining optics, intelligent vehicle systems and connectivity to deliver unprecedented levels of safety.”

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  • kyzarvs
    I can't imagine anything that I would want less than having phone calls and music while riding... Questionable safety for music on a bike and apart from the 'leave me alone, I'm riding' aspect of calls, how is the sportsbike-riding guy in the advert going to have anything like a conversation that isn't just wind-noise and heavy-breathing?
  • pills161
    I can't imagine anything that I would want less than having phone calls and music while riding...

    Totally agreed. The HUD capabilities and rear view camera are cool but phone calls and music? No thanks. I like to do group rides with other sportbike riders and a lot throw in their earbuds for music, personally I prefer just regular earplugs which make for a nice quiet ride (can still hear the revs of the bike and traffic around you). The phone capability would only be useful in emergencies, I don't want to talk to people when I'm out enjoying the road.

    One thing I'm curious about, what happens when you wreck with this helmet and it's no longer suitable to protect your head? Do you scrap the entire thing or are you able to cannibalize the electronics out of the old one and put them into an "empty" new one? If not I'd imagine you'd want to insure the helmet itself.