How smart is it, though?
We’re starting to see more and more smart helmets hit the market, and here comes one out of Australia. The Forcite is set to launch any moment now, if their website is to be believed. Their Facebook group promises a demo event this month, and test days in June, but all of the events and the helmet sales themselves are currently predicted to be based in, and restricted to, Australia. There’s no information on when, or whether, the helmet will be available in the United States, but we’re keeping a close eye on this one.
It has a lovely carbon fiber shell (that will, if the pictures are any indication, be available in a gloss or matte finish), a built-in camera at the front of the chinbar, and a built-in bluetooth headset communicator. Beyond what you can get with an aftermarket, separate helmet communicator, the Forcite claims a built in GPS chip as well as a gyroscope, barometer, accelerometer and altimeter (but no heads-up display). These are all things you probably also have in your smart phone, but heck, having them built into your helmet is pretty cool. Speaking of smart phones, the helmet will have its own app for your phone where you can access all the information it collects. Forcite also mentions navigation and traffic routing but they do not specify whether they’re using an extant system like Google Maps / Waze, or rolling their own.
We’ve seen smart helmets struggle and wonder if they are the answer to a question nobody asked, since aftermarket helmet communicators, heads-up displays and action cameras (and all of those in different combinations) are already on the market and have been for years. You can decide what features you want and stuff them into a helmet you already know and love. The big issue with helmets is always fitment, and if your noggin doesn’t agree with Forcite’s shape, well, you’re out of luck. Making different-shaped shells will almost certainly be much too expensive for a startup company to manage.
Also, when your helmet ages out you can pull the communicator out of it, or the action camera off of it, and remount them all in your spanky new lid. Not so these smart helmets, whose lifespan you can predict: five years or fewer, if you follow every major helmet manufacturer’s recommendation.
What say you, friends? Have you been waiting for the smart helmet segment to explode, and are you willing to drop $1,000 and more (sometimes much more) on a new, tech-laden lid?