While most smart helmet makers are offering more or less the same thing (GPS/communication/music integration with a heds-up display), Australian start-up Forcite is going its own way with its upcoming Mk 1, and that might be a good thing.
Skully and a host of less-infamous smart helmet startups have come on the scene with plenty of hype. But generally speaking, it’s impossible to get your hands on a proper smart helmet with heads-up display, even though the technology has been proven in many prototypes.
Part of the problem is pricing, part of the problem is that almost none of the parties involved are serious helmet makers, and part of the problem is that, in some markets, the idea of a motorcycle helmet with HUD is giving regulators the willies, and causing hold-ups.
The new Forcite Mk 1, recently launched in Australia, gets around that problem with a clever LED interface. Instead of beaming information onto the inside of the helmet’s shield, creating an HUD like a pilot might use, the Mk 1 uses a system of multi-coloured LEDs to send information to the rider. Is The Fuzz – or worse, a speed camera – sitting just ahead? The LEDs flash red and blue. Need to make a turn to stick to your route? The helmet’s built-in GPS system lets you know which way to go by lighting up a series of green LEDs.
It’s a cool idea, and while the information won’t be as detailed as you’d get from a full heads-up display, this is probably a very practical compromise, and one that would potentially work with more helmet styles as well. Combined with the helmet’s built-in speakers, it should work just about as well, and maybe even be less distracting.
For now, Forcite is offering the Mk 1, a full-faced carbon-fibre helmet with ECE 22.5 and DOT safety certification. It has Bluetooth integration for communication with mobile devices, and a Sony action camera that shoots 1080p video at 30 fps. The helmet doesn’t have built-in controls, but is instead controlled by a handlebar-mounted joystick.
Now for the catch: the helmet is expensive (about $1,050 US), and for now, only available in Australia. In December. You can order one through the Forcite website, but at this point, they don’t seem to be shipping to North America, and deliveries are still months away.
Still, this does look like a legit product that will avoid the vapourware curse that has plagued the smart helmet sector for so long. For more specs and other details on this interesting product, check out Forcitehelmets.com.