The stats around motorcycle safety in the United States are pretty bleak, but the folks at Skully are looking to give an added layer of safety to the bike-riding thrill-seekers of the world.
The Skully AR-1 helmet started quite literally as a fever dream by founder and CEO Dr. Marcus Weller, who had been in multiple motorcycle accidents before. He dreamt of a helmet that could give him HUD directions and GPS, and even let him get a clearer view of what’s behind him. He woke up in the middle of the night and spent an hour looking for this helmet, certain that it must exist in the world.
“At the time, I didn’t even have a motorcycle, but I was ready to spend money on it, which made me realize that I needed to build it,” said Weller.
Using an elaborate network of sensors, microprocessors, and a camera, the AR-1 is able to deliver a Heads Up Display, with turn-by-turn GPS navigation, with information appearing approximately ten feet in front of the rider. They call it the Synapse platform, and it offers automatic infinitely variable focal distance, meaning that the GPS itself is clear no matter where the rider is looking.
The whole point, of course, is to ensure that the driver is paying attention to all of the other vehicles on the street as opposed to averting attention to street signs, etc. With that in mind, the team also developed a rear-viewing system that gives a 180-degree view of what’s behind the rider.
It functions similarly to a rear-camera system in a car — save for the fact that it offers a panorama instead of a tunnel — and sits just below the GPS in the corner of the rider’s HUD. According to Weller, this lets the rider see where he or she needs to go and check his or her blind spot to change lanes all in one glance.
The helmet pairs with your smartphone via Bluetooth and has a battery life of up to nine hours, which Weller sees as the maximum time that anyone would (reasonably) spend on a motorcycle continuously.
Skully introduced the helmet in late 2013, and saw over 100,000 beta tester applications. Looking to leverage that community, the team is launching today on Indiegogo for people to place their pre-orders. The company is looking to raise $250k.
The Skully AR-1 will go for $1,399 on Indiegogo (with a few spots available for even lower price points), but the MSRP once it hits retail will be closer to $1,499.