Wearable Moto Gear Tech

11061308_830770427366_7139574102617486611_nI do not advocate riding a motorcycle in a skirt.

Here I am on my motorcycle. I really like the motorcycle because I feel more connected to environment than when I am in a car. It’s hard to see in this photo, but I have a bluetooth device installed in my helmet, a Sena SMH10R. It allows me to speak with riding buddies via intercom or connect to bluetooth devices such as my phone: I can listen to music & navigation directions and I can accept phone calls. There’s even a speed dial function I can program to make calls from the helmet.

The device has voice command options but I do not use them because at high speeds the sound of the wind passing through the helmet’s vents can trigger it accidentally. So I control all the functions of this device exclusively through this 3-button controller mounted to my helmet:

2013-08-08-00-45-32-IMG_3831Three buttons: +/middle/-

This piece of wearable tech has completely changed the way I ride. I am less likely to get lost on the way to an unfamiliar location and people can reach me when previously I was unreachable while riding. My riding buddies and I can alert one another to potential hazards and relay our positions–in fact this intercom feature has already saved me from what could have been a fatal collision once. Plus, listening to music while riding a motorcycle is absolutely blissful!

1) My first idea is to create a glove controller that serves as a remote control for my device.

The 3-button helmet-mounted controller is somewhat problematic. It alone controls all the varied functions the Sena offers. That means that some buttons are multi-purpose–you have to hold them a beat or two longer to access their secondary functions. This is not very convenient while riding. I prefer to keep both hands on the bars while in motion. Sometimes my left hand is “busy” and I cannot take it off the clutch to operate the controller. Even when I can spare my hand, the buttons can be hard to differentiate when I am wearing gloves (which is always).

The glove controller would have various “contact points” installed along the right sides of the fingers as well as on the thumb pad. When the wearer touches one of the points with his/her thumb, it completes a circuit and carries out a programmed function. It would need to have bluetooth and pair with the Sena.

BearTek-Bluetooth-Gloves-02AW MAN! I did some googling and this product already exists. It’s called a BearTek.

Anyways, product compatibility between the glove and my Sena would be hard for me to pull off at this juncture because of my lack of programming skills, but perhaps I could create a glove to connects to another simpler object of my own design, such as….

2) a moto jacket with LEDs arranged in the shape of arrows on the the shoulders. This way the jacket could serve as a turn signal!!

turn_ - 58Of course this has already been done, as well. This one is actually using a Flora.

I’m not at all surprised this has been done. Mine would be much cooler-looking, though (obviously).

3) Can I come up with an original idea? Let’s give it a shot. Well, this one is a total pipe dream way outside my wheelhouse, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. It is inspired by the epic SKULLY helmet, which is new on the market:

helmetSpecs

It is a groundbreaking product because of its HUD (heads up display), which makes it an augmented reality wearable. Even cooler, the HUD uses infrared eye tracking to focus the image, so that the wearer does not have to refocus when glancing down at it and back up to the road.

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Even cooler, it has a rearview camera! The HUD can project the SKULLY navigation software or the feed from the rearview camera. It also displays info about phonecalls, music, etc.

2014-skully-ar-1-motorcycle-helmet-2

My question is: how can the features of the SKULLY (infrared eye tracking, HUD, rearview camera, accelerometer, GPS and surround sound) be utilized in other ways? My first thought: Collision Detection: With more cameras, video footage can be used to calculate trajectories of moving objects around the wearer (there are already plugins that track moving objects in video, their change in size can be used to calculate change distance). The accelerometer and GPS can be used to calculate trajectory of the wearer. A program could be designed to compare these trajectories and determine threats and level of risk. The wearer can be alerted to potential hazards with a directional tone (using surround sound) accompanied with red “danger light” LEDs within the helmet, and an image can pop up on the HUD.

Another idea for the SKULLY is to utilize the infrared eye tracker for a Rider Impairment Gauge. Infrared eye tracking is something I am VERY interested in because it can be used to determine so much about the wearer: intoxication level, exhaustion, and focus (or lack thereof). The helmet could warn the user of his or her own impairment level and/or shut down distracting features in times of high impairment (music, phonecalls, HUD brightness). I would be interested to add to the helmet a GSR (galvanic skin response) sensor, as well for this purpose.

-Mary Kate P.

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