To many people, riding a motorcycle is supposed to be an exercise in getting away from all the complexity and fluff of cars. Choosing a two-wheeled conveyance tells the world that you’re someone who wants a truly elemental transportation experience, a motorized vehicle with only the bare necessities: Engine, drivetrain, controls (preferably ones that are unfiltered by any kind of boosters or other assists), a minimum number of wheels, and a spot to sit upon the contraption. We can definitely understand the appeal.
However, choosing a motorcycle also means giving up a lot of the modern convenience and safety technologies available to car pilots. Reasons these sacrifices need to be made include space constraints, the lack of a roof and windows to keep out the elements, and the fact that, in most places, the motorcycle operator is required by law to wear a helmet. Now, though, one man named Marcus Weller is poised to bring much of the whiz-bang gadgetry found in the four-wheeled world to motorcyclists, by packing said gadgetry into one full-faced helmet.
Dubbed the Skully P-1, this dashing black brain bucket (which will also be available in white) doesn’t look out of the ordinary from the outside. At least, it looks normal until you look closely at the Kamm tail affixed to the back. You’ll notice a small hole basically right smack in the middle of the rear face; inside that hole resides a small digital video camera with a fisheye lens. The feed from that camera gets piped to the P-1’s other big visual difference: A tiny heads-up display (HUD) mounted on the lower left corner of the visor opening (lower right when viewed from inside the helmet). And thanks to some trick computer coding, the video feed from fisheye-lens-equipped camera shows up as flat and undistorted on the HUD.
So this is just a motorcycle helmet with a rearview camera, right? Oh, no…no-no-no. The P-1 is armed with a computer running a customized version of Google’s Android operating system. Weller says the computer will be able to run numerous apps (controlled via voice commands), including ones that are being developed specifically for the helmet. A GPS antenna in the helmet allows the wearer access to turn-by-turn navigation with a map on the HUD and audio cues from the built-in speakers. A Bluetooth antenna allows the helmet’s computer to pair with a smartphone, giving the wearer the ability to do things like place and receive calls, get real-time traffic data, and listen to Pandora or other streaming services. And a WiFi antenna lets the onboard computer update its software and access other data without having to plug into anything (though you’ll have to plug the helmet into an electrical supply once in a while to charge the battery).
The information and entertainment possibilities the Skully P-1 presents are certainly exciting, but if you ask us, they’re secondary to the potential safety benefits. In addition to the camera giving you a wide-angle view of what’s happening behind you, the helmet is also equipped with an accelerometer and a gyroscopic sensor, which can give the computer the data in needs to determine if you’ve been in a crash. And if it does decide you’ve been in a crash, it could call emergency services for you. It should go without saying that that capability could literally be the difference between life and death for the person wearing the helmet.
Weller says the DOT-certified Skully P-1 will hit the market this coming spring. Pricing information hasn’t been released yet, but word on the street is it could retail more than $1,000. We’re not going to try and pretend that’s cheap (because it isn’t), but when you consider all the hardware and features it has crammed into it (with the possibility of more apps and capabilities being added on an almost continuous basis), it no longer seems quite as pricey.
Source: Skully Helmets