As seen in Dezeen, Joe Doucet is a New York based designer who came at helmet design from an accident prevention, not just an injury prevention, angle. The helmet design itself might look a little goofy but it’s the technology inside it that is important. The back lower half of the helmet is illuminated with color-change LED lighting. Will it actively prevent crashes from occurring?
While we motorcyclists have been donning flashier and flashier colors on our riding gear, statistics have barely budged. Lots of us upgrade our lighting, install a modulated brake light, extra auxiliary lighting up front, and in extreme cases LED lighting throughout the machine. We install loud horns so we can be loud when we need to catch some driver’s attention. Some riders install loud pipes so they can be loud constantly. Will a flashing helmet help?
The helmet will require recharging like all your other gadgets. The rear half of the helmet illuminates white, but the integrated accelerometer senses when the bike is slowing and turns the LED lighting to flashing red. That’s the good news: it is not tied to the brakes, and senses a slowdown even if the rider isn’t on the brakes. Indeed, on traffic-clogged freeways a helmet that lights up in back might help some of the time, but of course it is not the perfect accident avoidance system.
The really cool part, though, is that the designer of this helmet has made it open source. He hasn’t patented the design of the helmet, or the technology embedded in it. While it’s not perfect it still might be helpful, and helmet manufacturers might stuff this sort of thing into helmets that are already on the market. Doucet said "I opened up the intellectual property to any company who chooses to produce a version of the helmet. Weighing the potential of saving a life against a royalty check is an easy decision to make."
What I’m guessing happened, is that this designer got a whiff of the legal and regulatory hurdles necessary to bring something like a motorcycle helmet to market, and instead decided to release the design into the wild. The more safety mechanisms like this, the better!
Photo Credit: Dezeen