Google Glass has the potential to revolutionize how we get information on the move, but a team of Russian motorcyclists-slash-engineers are going one step further with an augmented reality GPS system built directly into a bike helmet.
Based in Moscow, the LiveMap crew got fed up with paper maps and unintuitive touch-screen navigation systems, so they looked to the world of fighter jets for a solution.
The result is a full-color, translucent image projected onto a helmet’s visor running a version of Android and controlled through voice commands.
Instead of a Google Glass-like setup where the rider would have to look up and to the right to see the next waypoint or turn, the LiveMap system displays everything directly in the middle of the rider’s point-of-view. That might sound dangerous at first, but it’s execution is similar to what you’d find in the latest BMW sports sedans, and with an ambient light sensor, the system can adjust the brightness and contrast to suit the environment.
Even more impressive is the integration of a gyroscope and digital compass, so when the rider turns his head — say, to check a blind spot — the image changes orientation to acclimate to the movement.
Voice controls and point of interest searches will supposedly be provided by Nuance, the top-shelf company that helps Siri understand commands, while mapping software will come from the folks at Navteq.
A pair of 3,000 mAh lithium-ion batteries claim to provide enough juice for a day-long ride and charge up using a standard USB plug. And while LiveMap admits that the helmet will be slightly larger than a standard brain pan, they’re using a carbon fiber shell with injection-molded foam to keep weight in check. All in, the helmet should come in around 2.5 pounds, and will meet all the major crash certifications around the world (DOT, ECE 22.05 and Japan’s JIS T 8133) when it goes on sale in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia in 2014, while Europe and Japan have to wait an additional year to take delivery.
Currently, LiveMap has developed the helmet, software, optics and board with funding from a range of Russian government sources, but it doesn’t have a fully-functional prototype yet. So the team is turning to Indiegogo to raise $150,000, with backers coughing up $1,500 a pop to get their hands on the first round of helmets.
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