Argon Transform adds dual cameras, comms and a HUD to any motorcycle helmet
A Singaporean company is launching a kit that makes any motorcycle helmet smart. The Argon Transform kit sticks onto your lid, and gives it a HUD, rear view camera, forward-facing action/dash cam, Bluetooth connectivity, an intercom and visual GPS navigation – for an early bird price of US$399.
There are many smart helmet manufacturers out there trying to build fully integrated smart lids, but at the end of the day, making smart helmet tech is a very different job from making a great, safe and comfy motorcycle helmet. So young startup Whyre's approach of making a kit that'll fit on most any helmet makes sense. It might not look as neat and integrated, but it allows the company to get to market without worrying about helmet safety standards testing and all the other bits and pieces that seem to be slowing down the majority of smart helmet startups.
The Argon Transform sticks two main IP65-rated modules to your lid with high-strength, removable 3M adhesives: a chunky rear unit that houses a big ol' eight-hour battery and rear-facing camera, and a bit that attaches to your chin piece to provide a heads-up display you can glance at without having to dip your head.
That HUD can be set into different modes, one is a rear-view camera with a direct low-latency live feed from the rear camera. Another is more of a dashboard, focusing on a big speedo figure, with navigation prompts, GPS-derived speed limits and media/call information central, and the last is a navigation-focused view with a live map display. All modes show your speed and nav prompts, they're just more prominent in some than in others.
This is attached via a wired connection back to the back unit, so there's never a connectivity issue between the two modules. The front unit's got a camera built in too, which can be used either as a dash cam or an action cam, recording in 1080p/30 or 720p/60 to a MicroSD card with looping functionality in case you want to throw out all your footage except the bits you choose to mark. Controls move off the helmet to a wireless control unit you can clip onto your handlebars.
The front and rear units weigh around 150 g (5.3 oz) each, so they balance each other out and don't add a deal-breaking amount of weight to your helmet. As for the look? Well, it's a tad bulky – but then, in comparison to other smart helmet solutions, you're still getting to wear the helmet you like and feel comfortable with. And you do get to witness close-up the full range of emotions your passengers go through, even if they're more likely to headbutt you as a result of the rear protrusion.
And of course it's got a built-in Bluetooth audio system, enabling you to sync to your phone for media playback, phone conversations, GPS prompts and a short-range 100-m (328-ft) bike-to-bike intercom system.
The Argon Transform kit gives you more or less exactly what people seem to be asking for in a smart helmet/HUD, and while it's hard to say what the safety impact might be of sticking these units onto the front and back of your lid, it does strike us as a realistic and potentially fairly quick way to get this kind of tech out there onto the road and developing.
Whyre is launching the Argon Transform on Indiegogo at an early bird pledge level of US$399, which is just US$50 more than the Sena 10C Pro, a Bluetooth headset with only one camera and zero HUD action. Standard crowdfunding disclaimers apply, but this could be a quick and effective way to get a HUD and a ton of smart features into a helmet you already own.
Check out the Argon Transform in the video below.