If you crash, your helmet can get help without you having to move.
Serious motorcycle crashes are scary to contemplate—especially if you ride by yourself. If you’re in a bad crash and can’t get to your phone, and no one else is around, how are you going to call for help? That’s exactly the situation that college student Ty Uehara’s friend found himself in. He’s fine now, but he suffered serious injuries and couldn’t call for help. That gave Uehara, who is also a fellow motorcyclist and computer science major, a great idea.
What if your motorcycle helmet could call 911 for you, without your having to physically touch your phone? Uehara’s concept, called ConTekt, would do exactly that. A combination of GPS, accelerometers, a gyroscope, pressure sensors, and Bluetooth speakers and a microphone make up the proposed setup.
If the helmet sensed a crash, it would then use Bluetooth connectivity with your existing phone to call 911 and get help to you as soon as possible. Uehara entered his idea into the 2019 University of Hawaiʻi Breakthrough Innovation Challenge—and won first place with the proposal you see in the video above.
Along with an award, Uehara took home a $2,000 cash prize that he plans to use to obtain a patent and develop a working prototype of ConTekt. At this time, he estimates that the finished helmet will retail for around $700, according to CNN.
It’s unclear whether ConTekt could also be available as a modular unit that could be installed on any helmet of your choosing. It’s also unclear how or if the sensor functions could interface with existing Bluetooth headset units, such as the ones made by Cardo, Sena, or any other manufacturers, which might also be mated up with your phone.
Still, we’ve talked before about how innovations like the Apple Watch’s fall detection feature could potentially help motorcyclists. It’s innovators like Uehara—who, not coincidentally, is also a motorcyclist—who will help to drive ideas like this forward, into useful tools that can keep us all a little bit safer.