Students from Colorado State University can show motorcycle enthusiasts how to modify a motocross helmet to make it smarter and thus to enhance safety for the wearer.
Engineering students Matt Kopper, Karl Akerberg, and Valerie Cochrane added one “driver comfort” and two safety features. The comfort feature—an easy way to open and close the visor—consists of a chin-strap-mounted LED screen that controls two servomotors. The servos open and close the visor.
One safety feature is a blind spot detection system. When ultrasonic sensors mounted on the helmet’s right and left sides detect something, a buzzer sounds in the rider’s ear, on the same side as the sensor that detected a problem.
The helmet will automatically detect low-light situations and turn on lights on the helmet’s rear. The photoresistor is fixed to the top of the helmet.
Power to operate the system comes from eight AA batteries and a handheld power source.
Instructions for modifying a helmet, including source code for the Arduino Mega and PIC and a materials list, are available on the DesignNews website. The makers emphasize that the helmet design is a prototype only and not yet ready for street use.