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.
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.
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