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ProjectThe Connected Helmet: Monitor Cycling and Share Your Ride

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The Connected Helmet: Monitor Cycling and Share Your Ride

It looks like any other bicycle helmet, but it’s equipped with wireless communication, a sensor that measures the heart rate and accelerometers that can assist in accidents. Meet the connected bicycle helmet that provides the rider with interactive features.
“We wanted to find out if it is possible to increase the use of bike helmets with smart technology,” says Cristofer Englund at Viktoria.

The last 10 years has shown a steady increase in the use of bike helmets in Sweden. One out of four adults uses a bicycle helmet when they commute to work or use cycle routes. For kids up to ten years old, the ratio is almost 7 out of 10,* according to figures by the Swedish Transport Administration. But there is still room for improvement. During the spring of 2012, Viktoria got a research proposal financed by the Swedish Transport Administration targeting the issue. The idea was to equip the helmet with interactive technology and connect it with a smartphone in order to make it more attractive to use. The concept helmet the research team came up with, after three months of development, is a mix of functionality, including support for training, security and integration with the bike itself.

Automatic reminders

So how does it work? Because the accelerometers in the helmet detect movement, the sensors and the radio connection is activated when the user picks it up. When the helmet is activated, a sensor in the front starts reading the heart rate. (The sensor measures the amount of reflected light, which changes depending on your pulse.) If the user is about to take a bike ride but the smartphone doesn’t detect any helmet within range, a sound-reminder goes on. The helmet can also assist in case of accidents. If the biker rides a trail alone and takes a fall, the impact is detected by the accelerometers. At this point, it’s possible to check if the user is wearing the helmet via the pulse sensor. If the user doesn’t respond within a certain time, the smartphone contacts a predefined number and provides the location where the accident occurred.

Interacts with the bike itself

The concept helmet can also communicate with the bike itself. One example is to use the heart rate sensor to provide feedback for a balanced assistance to an electric bike.

“You can set a maximum heart rate if you don’t want to arrive to work sweating, and you can also set a minimum heart rate if you want that extra exercise. Or you can set an interval training program, ” says Kristoffer Lidström at Viktoria.

The data created during the ride can be shared in social media channels.
“The next step is to continue our talks with manufacturers who are interested in developing the concept helmet into a commercially viable product,” says Cristofer Englund.

*Source: Trafikverket