Over the years, bike helmets have become more than just a means of protecting a rider's head, helping to keep cyclists informed about their surroundings, signaling turns and playing headbanging tunes, for example. Pulling across some features from its line of smart motorcycle helmets, Sena has unveiled its new smart helmet for cyclists, which includes a QHD camera, Bluetooth connectivity, built-in speakers and an intercom system for keeping in touch with fellow riders.
Bluetooth is the core of what makes the Sena Smart Helmet so smart. Connected to a smartphone, the stylish stack hat can play tunes through two external speakers, which saves a rider closing themselves off from the outside world with earbuds. For those who don't want to glance at a handlebar-mounted screen, the speakers can read out stats like heart rate, speed and cadence from a connected fitness tracking app.
When used in tandem with the microphone at the front, the device also allows for hands-free phone calls. If your riding buddies have their own Smart Helmets, there's an intercom system that allows for up to four people to chat at once, within a half-mile (900 m) range.
Front and center is a mounted camera, which can record up to two hours of video of your rides, in either 1440p Quad HD at 30 fps, or 1080p Full HD at 60 fps. Videos can be overlaid with music from a smart device, and there's an option to also record the voices coming in from the intercom. Those recordings are stored on a MicroSD card, and can be transferred over Wi-Fi after a ride to watch, edit and share the trip.
Two separate mobile apps drive the system. There's one for the camera, which can preview and play videos and set recording options, and one for the headset itself, which allows a rider to set up intercom groups and fiddle with more general settings.
In-transit control can come from buttons on either side of the helmet, with the left side for Bluetooth functions, and buttons to start and stop the camera on the right. For users who'd prefer not to wave their hands around mid-ride, there's an optional accessory that puts those controls right on the handlebars.
Sena unveiled the Smart Helmet for cyclists at Interbike this week, and it's expected to be available in the next few months at a retail price of US$349, or the option of a sans-camera version for $199.