More than 1,900 applied, only 10 were chosen. The Extreme Tech Challenge finalists vying to pitch their company to Sir Richard Branson on Necker, his private island, includes Skully, a smart motorcycle helmet. Skully combines the latest in technology in one extreme helmet.
To begin with let’s cover the basics. The streamlined helmet is water and dust proof with a comfortable NASA originated Outlast lining that is removable and washable. It comes in black or white and gives you a Darth Vadar appearance. Now, on to the technology.
Essentially, the Skully AR-1 eliminates blind spots. The helmet sports a 180 degree rear view camera with a fisheye lens that projects revamped, dewarped images of what’s happening behind you onto a cube at the front of the helmet. This rearview mirror is not the only information displayed. The cube is transparent so it does not impair your front vision while providing dashboard-like data.
Other information you can see includes a tachometer, speed readout, gear position, and incoming calls. The helmet provides a blue tooth GPS with worldwide mapping. The visual information displayed is augmented by audio directions. The stereo speakers provide clear phone conversations and good music enjoyment, as well as route indications.
Looking to the future, at the rear of the helmet you will find RGB LED lights in place that can light up as turn signals or to indicate braking. They also will help with diagnostics. The system runs on two individual rechargeable batteries reloaded via micro USB.
The helmet was designed for comfort. The informative cube is set to eliminate eye strain. Your eyes don’t have to refocus from distance viewing down the road to close-up to read gauges previously mounted on the dashboard. Material for the wide-angle-view visor is anti-glare, anti-fog, with a button you can push for bright light correction. To prevent you from becoming a hot headed motorcyclist, the helmet has vents on the front, top, and both sides to air cool your skull.
Speaking of heads, the helmet comes in S, M, L, XL, and XXL. A chart gives dimensions in hat size, centimeters and inches. For example, a Large fits hat size 7 1/8 – 7 1/ 4. Additionally, if it still doesn’t fit, the company promises to send another premium padding set at no charge.
This company put out an Indiegogo project with a goal of $250,000. Instead, in less than two months, they closed the fund October 9, 2014 with $2,445,425 USD. During and since, videos have been posted that have gleaned positive and negative comments regarding the approach, cost, safety, sturdiness, and the usefulness of this new technology aimed at the motorcycle enthusiast.
The company says the Skully AR-1 is DOT/ECE (US Department of Transportation / Economic Commission for Europe) certified and is currently pending AS/NZS 1698:2006 certification. As to damage during an accident, they suggest checking your insurance policy to see if you are covered for Custom Parts and Equipment (CPE) coverage.
Skully’s Vice President of Design Joshua Bloom produced a very detailed look at the streamlined helmet in a YouTube video.
One viewer commented: Looks interesting, but cost is prohibitive. It is currently listed as $1,499 plus $99.99 shipping. Another person summed it up thus: When it comes to pricing think about it in this manner. You’re buying the equivalent of 1) a decent helmet 2) a GoPro camera 3) a Google glass 3) a communication system 4) a photo chromatic face shield. Does it really seem that expensive??
You can judge for yourself at CES in Las Vegas. Skully and the other nine finalists will vie to become the top three winners on stage January 8, 2015 at 2pm in the Marco Polo room at The Venetian. If you want to buy the product, the company website’s store is your only option. You can place a pre-order and hope shipment happens by the promised July, 2015 date.