Sena's intelligent motorcycle helmet keeps a lid on unwanted noise

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The Sena INC helmet is controlled by two buttons; the one on the left, above the ear cup powers on and off the INC system, while the right one controls the Ambient Mode. Lower on the left side is the Bluetooth connecting dock.(Credit: Sena)

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Riding a motorcycle at highway speeds inevitably entails pressurized air forcing its way through the helmet’s ventilation channels. This generates a constant buzzing that can be at least irritating, if not a health risk. Earplugs offer a popular solution, although isolating the rider from his surroundings is seldom a good idea. Sena’s Intelligent Noise-Cancelling helmet for the first time offers a smart system that promises to filter out only the useless noise from the rider’s hearing spectrum.

Sena has been designing Bluetooth communication systems specifically targeted to motorcyclists since 1998 and several of its products have been reviewed by Gizmag – such as the 20S and the 10C Bluetooth camera combo. Its expertise in high-quality motorcycle communication systems was apparently put to good use in designing the world’s first Intelligent Noise-Cancelling (INC) helmet.

The central idea of this system is to cancel the annoying and harmful noise bandwidth without isolating the rider from the surrounding sounds that play an important role in riding safety. The smart helmet is equipped with four hidden microphones that intercept sound and transmit it to the central INC module integrated into the lower back of the helmet. This calculates the appropriate wave patterns that will level out the annoying noises and play them directly to the ear cups that are also fabricated into the helmet.

According to Sena, the system effectively limits sound well below the 100 dB barrier that is deemed harmful to the rider’s health over sustained periods of time, while allowing sounds like horns, sirens or even the motorcycle’s engine to be heard clearly.

An extra feature of the INC system is the Ambient Mode which can be activated at the push of a button on the left side of the helmet and will come in handy when the rider needs to communicate with someone without removing the helmet, for instance when stopping for fuel. By using the embedded microphones, every discussion will be heard inside the helmet loud and clear.

Sena’s system is built into a modern carbon fiber helmet with an EPS foam interior and washable lining made of soft COOL-Quick Dry fabric. The INC system itself includes four microphones, two ear cups and the control module with its own battery. There is also a provision to add a Bluetooth communication system, as the INC is compatible with all of Sena’s existing systems.

Fully equipped with an optional communication system, the smart helmet weighs 3.5 lb (1.6 kg).

The Sena INC helmet will be sold with a clear and a tinted visor, at an as yet undisclosed price. It is expected to hit the market in early 2016.

See a short presentation of the innovative helmet in Sena's promo video below.

Source: Sena

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