Wow Futuristic Helmets Use Smart Glasses

In my younger days, I used to ride a motorcycle — less to look cool than to get cheap campus parking. But the risk/reward ratio went haywire one day, in an incident concerning a blind spot and a UPS truck. I have since embraced public transportation.

This all comes to bear on a development from this week’s AWE 2014 event in Santa Clara, Cali. AWE stands for Augmented World Expo, and the gathering is dedicated to emerging technologies including augmented reality, wearables, digital eyewear and gesture and voice interaction.

An outfit called Fusar Technologies is introducing the new Guardian GA-1 motorcycle helmet, which incorporates a heads-up display (HUD) system, plus video recording, voice commands and augmented reality technology.

The goal is to leverage emerging technology to make riders safer. The backwards-facing camera pipes a “rearview mirror” live feed into the helmet’s built-in Epson Moverio smart glasses, along with GPS navigation information. Built-in speakers and microphones handle voice commands.

While no specifics have been made public yet, the project video suggests the Guardian system will allow riders to monitor traffic conditions, find gas stations, track fellow riders, and take photos and videos — all hands-free, of course.

None of this is particularly new — high-tech motorcycle helmets with various communication gizmos have been around forever. And next-gen wearable systems like the Skully helmet, now in beta testing, incorporate similar technologies. But the trick is to get the various HUD and augmented reality features to work reliably (and without causing distraction) in the famously unreliable conditions of two-wheeled locomotion — road glare, ambient noise, UPS trucks, this sort of thing.