When we wrote about the Forcite Alpine smart helmet at the start of this year, we called it the snow sports headgear that "does it all". That was when it had a 1080p action camera built in, a GPS tracker and built-in walkie-talkie. It's now available for pre-order, and it's even cooler than it was before.
The camera inside the Forcite Alpine now shoots in 4K, and it'll do 120fps slow-motion at 720p as well. Powered by an onboard computer with a 2.4GHz quad-core processor, a bunch of internal sensors track your location and speed and the height of jumps you make; everything is saved to a microSD card and the Alpine will talk to your smartphone over Bluetooth 4.0 LE or wi-fi. The helmet itself has been developed further since January, with a sleeker profile — and it's modular, so if you damage it you'll be able to send it to Forcite for repair.
Probably the most useful feature of the Alpine — as long as you have a couple of mates — is the fact that up to four helmets can communicate from up to 200 metres away from each other with in-helmet voice comms, so you can keep in touch with your friends on the slopes. Working prototypes have been tested in Aussie and New Zealand snowfields, Forcite tells us; the version that ships to customers at the start of next year will include a Highlights Reel feature that builds a video from any run that includes a top speed, airtime or sharp turns.
Forcite wants to raise $200,000 from Kickstarter to get the Alpine into production; it says it'll have helmets shipping to backers by January 2016. The campaign only kicked off today, and they're already $32,500 into it — not a bad effort at all. Pegged at $US699 for the cheapest model, that's bang on the $1000 we were told to expect during the initial testing and prototype phase. We're usually wary about Kickstarter projects, but the guys at Forcite run an operation out of Waterloo in Sydney's south CBD, and they seem like a pretty good bunch. As usual, caveat emptor. [Kickstarter]