Detailed on an Indiegogo project page, the SMART bicycle helmet utilizes technology such as an accelerometer, physiological sensor and wireless communication to relay heart rate data and other fitness stats to cyclists in real time. Originally developed for use within helmets worn by astronauts and fighter pilots, the technology built into the bicycle helmet doesn’t require the cyclist to wear a chest strap to monitor their heart rate. Chest straps, developed by companies like Wahoo Fitness and Polar, can become uncomfortable and start to irritate the skin on an extended ride in addition to slipping out of position.
Using an electro-optical sensor at the front of the helmet, heart rate information is sent to a connected mobile device, like a smartphone or fitness watch, in real time. Assuming the cyclist has a smartphone mount on the front of their bike, they could consistently monitor their heart rate during the ride.
Beyond heart rate data, the team is also looking into implementing other functionality such as crash detection, heads up display capabilities and a bicycle locator likely using some form of GPS. The helmet has been tested in various weather conditions and the sensor technology is resistant to inclement weather as well as sweat. Regarding mobile compatibility, the SMART helmet will work with iOS, Android and Windows platforms.
At the moment, the LifeBEAM team has nearly reached the Indiegogo funding goal of $50,000. Assuming the project is funded, LifeBEAM will be partnering with Lazer to built the actual helmets. The first batch of SMART helmets are expected to roll out to Indiegogo backers by September 2013. There are no specific details on the final retail price of the helmet, but interested cyclists can contribute $189 to the project to secure a helmet prior to the launch.