Bicycles

Bike helmet enlists lasers for added safety

Bike helmet enlists lasers for...
The Beacon Helmet laser-projects a green bicycle-warning symbol (seen at left) to let motorists know a bike is coming
The Beacon Helmet laser-projects a green bicycle-warning symbol (seen at left) to let motorists know a bike is coming
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Inventor Jeff Zhang with the Beacon Helmet
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Inventor Jeff Zhang with the Beacon Helmet
The Beacon Helmet's battery life is an estimated 3 to 5 hours, although that's obviously going to depend on how much the lasers are used
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The Beacon Helmet's battery life is an estimated 3 to 5 hours, although that's obviously going to depend on how much the lasers are used
The Beacon Helmet laser-projects a green bicycle-warning symbol (seen at left) to let motorists know a bike is coming
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The Beacon Helmet laser-projects a green bicycle-warning symbol (seen at left) to let motorists know a bike is coming
Inventor Jeff Zhang with the Beacon Helmet
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Inventor Jeff Zhang with the Beacon Helmet
The Beacon Helmet's battery life is an estimated 3 to 5 hours, although that's obviously going to depend on how much the lasers are used
5/6
The Beacon Helmet's battery life is an estimated 3 to 5 hours, although that's obviously going to depend on how much the lasers are used
The Beacon Helmet laser-projects a green bicycle-warning symbol (seen at left) to let motorists know a bike is coming
6/6
The Beacon Helmet laser-projects a green bicycle-warning symbol (seen at left) to let motorists know a bike is coming
View gallery - 6 images

We've already seen bike helmets with head/tail lights, turn indicators and built-in speakers, and the Beacon helmet … well, it has all of those too. What makes it a little different, however, is the fact that it laser-projects a bicycle-warning symbol onto the road 5 to 12 meters (16 to 39 ft) in front of the rider.

The main idea behind the warning symbol is that if the rider is situated in a vehicle's blind spot, the driver will see the green bike being projected onto the road beside them, realize that a cyclist is coming up from behind, and thus avoid cutting them off by turning in front of them. It also lets drivers at blind intersections know that a bike is approaching.

In that way, the Beacon is very similar to the existing Blaze bicycle headlight. Whereas the laser on the Blaze has to be turned on and off manually, though, the laser on the Beacon can be set to automatically come on at a preset "threshold" speed.

Inventor Jeff Zhang with the Beacon Helmet
Inventor Jeff Zhang with the Beacon Helmet

The helmet additionally laser-projects bicycle lane markers onto the road, on either side of the bike. The thinking here is that drivers will see these and instinctively give the cyclist more room.

As mentioned, it also has a 100-lumen headlight and a tail light, along with a brake light that's activated by an onboard accelerometer. There are additionally turn indicators which are activated by pressing large buttons located on either side of the helmet (not via a wireless handlebar control, as is the case with some others), plus there are built-in speakers that can be synced with the rider's smartphone. These can be used to listen to navigational cues from a third-party app.

Battery life is an estimated 3 to 5 hours, although that's obviously going to depend on how much the lasers are used.

The UK-designed Beacon is presently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where a pledge of £180 (about US$237) is required to get one. If everything goes according to plan, shipping is estimated for next April.

Sources: Beacon Helmet, Kickstarter

View gallery - 6 images
6 comments
Joshua Tulberg
pretty cool idea, but projecting in the rear seems critical too.
Brian M
This could be dangerous - even illegal. The laser is mounted on the helmet so presumable turns with the riders head, so the projection could easily temporarily blind or confuse other road user. At the minimum it needs to be fixed to the bike so it projects into the area the bike is heading into.
Or simple just wear more appropriate clothing unlike the idiotic cyclist in the photo wearing black/dark clothing at night - says a lot about attitude here!

MerlinGuy
How is this different that just having a bright front light on your bike? I mean other than about $200 dollars. A silly, silly product. Save your money to buy better front and tail lights and a nice reflective vest. You will be much safer.
Cyclist Joe
It's a Great invention. I am buying one for myself for only $237. A single front light with similar laser costs $150 and the helmet has three. The bicycle laser is the future. All London public bicycle has installed such laser unit. Google it!
Cool idea. !!! Love it.
highlandboy
Any laser strong enough to be seen in an area with street lights is going to be dangerous to the vision of other drivers/pedestrians/riders so it makes much more sense to mount it on the bike frame. Great idea to make cyclists more visible. Stupid idea to mount it on a helmet!
Cyclist Joe
I think the front laser is controlled and will shut down at any head movement. So it should be OK. Waiting for the delivery.