When you look at the advances in the automotive industry, it may seem like technology has left motorcycles in the wind. A recent purchase I made for my ride proves this is not the case. Today, motorcyclists have advanced options just like any driver. In fact, we have ‘smart’ options that go beyond what a driver can get in a car. With a smart helmet, you design a virtual environment that will improve your safety and add luxury when you go for a ride.
A smart helmet is not your average brain bucket. On the outside, it looks very much like any motorcycle helmet, but on the inside, technology permeates the design by adding some very cool gadgets. Even with all the bells and whistles, you will find the smart helmet does what a helmet should do, protect your head from injury. The outside has a hard, fiberglass casing to absorb the impact as you hit the ground. The inside includes cushioning that stabilizes your head and keeps it from jarring to reduce the risk of brain and spinal cord injury.
The Cooling System
One advantage I love about my smart helmet is the cooling system. It is not exactly what you might expect. The cooling system is a safety feature for helmets, not something that cools you off when you ride. Fatal accidents involving motorcyclists are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A vast majority of riders will die from a head injury sustained during a crash. The cooling system in a smart helmet is meant to reduce risk of death due to head trauma. Inside helmets is a thermal system that works similar to an ice bag. The impact during an accident causes an endothermic chemical reaction that produces a cooling effect. This helps reduce brain injury, bleeding and swelling until emergency teams can get to you.
Being able to communicate with another rider while you are wearing a helmet is not exactly new technology. The smart helmet just takes it to the next level by including Bluetooth. The Bluetooth serves multiple purposes. Just like the cooling system, the Bluetooth device works as a safety feature. Bluetooth will call for help automatically on impact should you get in an accident. This way, if you lose consciousness, emergency teams still get the call and can track you with the device via a global positioning system. The Bluetooth will work as a headset for any enabled smartphone. The battery power lasts for up to five talk time hours before it requires recharging. The set detaches from the helmet so when you get off the bike, you take it with you.
Monitoring Your Speed
The GPS does even more than just track your location. Some helmets provide a 2.5cm x 2cm LCD display that sits on the left side of the rider’s peripheral vision. The display shows you how fast you are traveling by monitoring the speed in MPH. There is no need to take your eyes off the road to check a speedometer when wearing a smart helmet. The GPS system can also monitor the road surface and signal you if there are potholes and other dangerous obstacles that might have caused an accident of you were not wearing the smart helmet.
Although the smart helmet is mostly meant to make motorcycle riding safer than a conventional design, there are other perks, as well. The system can sync with your iPod and other MP4 device so you can create playlists or listen to satellite radio. The stereo is ideal for playing an audio book and, in some cases, will even record messages from you to send as text or save as notes. You can use voice commands to control the system. This eliminates the need to take your hands off the handlebars or to pull over to make an adjustment.
The designs on smart helmets vary on make and model. Some come with just Bluetooth technology and other with just the GPS system. Many modern helmets have it all. The motorcycle experience is highly personal. Riders should shop around for just the right helmet for them. The old fashion equipment helps to save lives, but the limitations to a conventional helmet can make them uncomfortable and cumbersome. Smart helmets work to improve the rider’s safety and experience. Overall, it was the technology to keep me riding without an accident and protect me in the event I do have one that drew me to the smart helmet.
The added technology does not come without a price. You may end up paying more for a smart helmet than you would for the old-fashion brain bucket, but it is worth it. The smart helmet pays for itself in comfort, perks and peace of mind.
About the Author: Lisa is an avid yoga enthusiast who has grown up with motorcycles and frequently goes riding with her family on a YZ125. Lisa enjoys writing in her spare time for SatelliteTV.com