Remember Shoei? Just kidding, of course you do, it’s one of the biggest and best-known motorcycle helmet manufacturers on the planet. Anyway, now that we’ve got you spluttering in disbelief, here’s the real news: Shoei has been working on a heads-up display system it calls Opticson. The helmet specialist even brought a prototype display to the 2022 Osaka Motorcycle Show, but the real-world production version could be coming soon. Let’s take a look. 

The physical part of the Shoei Opticson consists of two main systems: A vertically-adjustable display piece that mounts in front of a rider’s right eye inside the helmet, and a projection unit that’s hidden away inside the chin bar.  

Rather than rely solely on itself to generate information, the Opticson system communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth. Navigation displays—including distance to your next turn, as well as arrows to show in which direction you should prepare to turn—do, of course, show up in front of your right eye. There’s also an integrated light sensor to adjust brightness of the display for optimal effect, given your current ambient lighting situation. 

Gallery: Shoei Opticson Heads-Up Display Helmet Prototype

While the navigation piece is the primary function that Shoei demonstrated with its Opticson display at the 2022 Osaka Motorcycle Show, it will also help to facilitate hands-free answering of calls, as well as call placement. You’ll be able to see caller ID display in your HUD, so you’ll know whether you should answer, or ignore it because it’s a spam risk. All of this information, Shoei says, can help to keep a rider’s eyes on the road because it’s displayed visibly, but unobtrusively—and riders don’t have to look down at their handlebars or bike displays while riding. 

As of April 27, 2022, Shoei hasn’t given any official information regarding any future timeline. However, we have a couple reasons to believe that the version of Opticson that it showed at the Osaka Motorcycle Show earlier in 2022 is close to production—and will also likely be released in the U.S. For one thing, Japanese motorcycle and car YouTuber Yu spoke directly with a Shoei representative at the show (video is in Japanese), who said the company hopes to release it toward the end of 2022. Obviously, that’s not set in stone, but that means the production wheels are already turning if the planned release is that close.  

For the second thing, Shoei has been applying for patents related to this helmet for the past few years—both in Japan, and with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We’ll link the two most recent USPTO ones in our Sources. With the USPTO alone, Shoei filed five separate patent applications related to this helmet in 2021 and 2022, with application numbers 17/350149, 17/350198, 17/351016, 17/352175, and 17/311385.  

Now, obviously, not every patent application necessarily comes to fruition. However, this does seem to at least speak to the seriousness of Shoei’s intent with this product it’s been developing. As always, when we know more, we’ll be sure to share all the details here.  

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