Pedal power may be one of the most popular ways for commuters to get around the city but cycling also comes with its dangers. That’s why New York-based company Brooklyness has come up with the Classon, a smart helmet that could make cycling in the city safer. The gadget — currently seeking funding on Kickstarter — alerts a wearer to situations like when cars are in their blind spot via a light under the visor and also uses sensors to read a rider’s body movements to activate turn signals and brake lights on the front and back of the helmet. It’s also equipped with two cameras, GPS navigation and responds to voice commands, to capture accidents and ensure that cyclists are able to focus on the road ahead. Co-founder Manuel Saez explains why this helmet is ahead of the competition.
How did you come up with the idea to create Classon?
We have been working on bikes for six years and realized that many people would like to ride bikes on a regular basis but they are afraid of doing that. Understandably, cycling in the city can be dangerous, so we focused on designing a product that would empower people to ride bikes, giving them confidence and control.
What functions does it have?
The two main functions are blind spot detection and automatic lights that respond to the rider's body movements. For the blind spot detection we use cameras front and back that read the environment, while our algorithm processes that data and translates it into a very simple user interface. Our visor has lights that blink in order to warn the rider of cars approaching in their blind spot. The gesture sensors read the riders movements, so when the rider raises his hand to indicate a turn, the turning lights incorporated in the helmet go on automatically. Other features include GPS navigation, voice-activated commands and automatic stop lights.
What advantages does it have?
It gives the rider more awareness so he or she can make better decision on the road. It makes the cyclist more visible so others know where the bike is and avoids accidents. Since we use cameras, everything is recorded — this is very important, in case of an accident.
Does it provide more safety on the road?
Although this helmet does not warranty a 100 percent safe ride, it improves the riders ability to see and makes the wearer more visible to others. These two factors do increase safety on the road.
Have you already tried one and how does the cycling experience change?
Yes, getting the helmet working for you is an awesome feeling. It does things without you even having to think about it.
What impact could Classon possibly have?
I think we are yet to see and measure its impact on the number of accidents; however, our goal beyond providing solid grounds for safety is to encourage people to ride a bike on a regular basis. Bikes will be a mayor player in the smart cities of the future, so we are working on making that a reality sooner.