After years of tiny advances, this year has seen a big growth in helmet technology.

On the safety front, Mike has described the MIPS technology, a new kind of armor that slips on impact and reduces the load on the skull (and thus the brain.)

MIPS technology in a Bell helmet at AIMExpo

We’ve also written about futuristic helmets with Heads Up Displays, built-in front cameras, rear cameras, and a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone.

360 view on the X-AR — photo courtesy of JARVISH

Quin have found a new angle.

The Plymouth, Minnesota company makes a helmet that’ll send distress signals in two different ways.

The first is a crash detector. Each Quin helmet has a built-in accelerometer. If it detects an impact of 100 G or more that exceeds their parameters for speed, rapid deceleration and peak g-force, it’ll automatically send out a SOS signal and your location (using GPS coordinates) to your preset contacts, be they first responders or friends and family.

Sensor locations in the Quin helmet — image courtesy of Quin Design

This doesn’t happen on its own, though. The helmet collects the accelerometer info via its custom built-in Quin Arc Chip. The chip then sends a message to your smartphone using Bluetooth. And yes, you need an app for that. It’s the appropriately named Quin app. You use it to list your contacts and settings.

Quin Arc Chip that’s in the Quin helmet — photo courtesy of Quin Design

Which means that for this system to work, you need to be in range of a cell tower that’ll relay your signal.

But that’s not all.

Quin helmets will also let you send a SOS signal without having crashed. Again, you need the app, but you can trigger an alert manually.

Sensor locations in the Quin helmet — image courtesy of Quin Design

How safe are the helmets? Quin says they’re manufactured in China at the same facilities that make more famous brands. Depending on the model (they have three in production right now) they’ll have either both DOT and ECE certification or just an ECE certification. ECE means that it meets “FIM and AMA racing standards.”

Quin had (has?) a Kickstarter campaign but deliveries had been delayed. Just today, they announced that the first ones had shipped, so they’re now up and running.

Prices range from $300 to $540 (Kickstarter contributors got a big discount.)

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