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Is This High-Tech Helmet Concept the Future of Motorcycle Safety?
Like many types of cycling gear, motorcycle helmets have come a long way from their simple origins — but you wouldn’t necessarily know that to look at them. In spite of modern materials and computer-aided design making them safer than ever, the layperson wouldn’t be able to tell the average helmet from the ones around back when Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper were doing their easy ride half a century ago.
They wouldn’t have that problem with the Sotera helmet concept, though.
Created by New York-based designer Joe Doucet, the Sotera Advanced Active Safety Helmet is designed to take a more active approach to safety by working to keep crashes from happening in the first place. The bottom half of the helmet consists of a large LED panel, which is connected to accelerometers integrated into the head-lid; when the sensors detect the bike is braking, the panel turns bright red, to notify drivers and riders astern that the motorcycle is slowing. (It can also glow white during normal riding conditions, to improve visibility at steady-state speeds or during acceleration.)
The idea is basically to replicate the center high-mounted stop light found on the rooflines and rear windows of modern automobiles, putting the warning light up closer to the sky in order to make it easier for others to notice.
“Motorcycle lights are very low above the ground compared to other vehicles,” Doucet said, according to Dezeen. “Sotera solves this problem by putting the light at the eye-line of other drivers.”
Of course, not all accidents are avoidable. So in the event that a rider does go flying head-first into an obstacle, the Sotera is made from Kevlar and polycarbonate to soak up the forces. And should the lights go out, the LED system can be recharged using a USB cable; you could, in theory, recharge it while riding using a motorcycle outlet adaptor, but we’d suggest charging it up when it’s not on your head, if only for safety reasons.
While it’s merely a concept for now, Doucet says he intentionally didn’t patent the design because he’s hoping to see helmet makers adopt the idea for their own wares.