Even for the most careful and law-abiding of cyclists, riding can be a terrifying activity. And that’s during the day — at night, multiple the danger a hundred times over, if not more. You can combat the risk by slapping all manner of blinking lights and reflective vests on your person but, at the end of the day, you still need to stick your hand out to indicator or otherwise signal motorists.
Unless, of course, you’re RMIT researcher and Dutch designer Wouter Walmink, in which case you just tilt your head and let your fancy, self-built helmet (right) do the work.
Called the “LumaHelm”, it contains 104 LEDs of various colours, with AA batteries providing juice. It’s tied into an Arduino controller and a motion sensor, which can detect when the rider tilts their head and illuminate the helmet appropriately with a left or right turn signal. Braking also registers, lighting up the back.
Sadly, there are no plans to get it on a production line, so it won’t be appearing on Melbourne roads or costume parties any time soon. Shame, would have made my Data impression all the more real.
Image: Craig Sillitoe
Video: The Age / RMIT