Forcite launches its MK1 smart motorcycle helmet, with a unique LED visual communication strip
Forcite has officially launched its MK1 smart motorcycle helmet, which forgoes the HUD in favor of an interesting LED light strip, as well as a HD, wide-angle camera, Bluetooth comms unit, VOIP intercom and a handlebar-mounted control unit.
The Forcite MK1 will rock what looks like quite a nice chin-mounted camera: a stabilized Sony IMXLQR line unit capable of recording in 1080p/30 fps, with a 166° wide-angle lens that should make your action footage look fast and fun, as well as capturing multiple license plates for what's happening around you if you're using it primarily as a dash cam. The camera turns on automatically as the lid turns on, and can record continuously for five hours to an SDXC card if you've got one big enough.
Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to send video to your phone after recording, or indeed stream live as you ride. The MK1 should be a great lid for Motovloggers, with its built-in noise cancelling microphones allowing you to record yourself talking as you ride.
It features dual-band Bluetooth as well, and the built-in speakers have 40 mm drivers. So you can listen to music and podcasts, talk on the phone and take navigation instructions from your phone if you wish. Interestingly, while there's also a bike-to-bike intercom, it's a VOIP system rather than a Bluetooth one, so you'll only be able to hook up to other Forcite helmets. There's no mention of what sort of range it'll work over as yet.
Forcite founder Alfred Boyadgis says he considers the idea of a HUD in a motorcycle helmet a non-starter. "HUD's are a dangerous distraction," he said. "They impede your vision and are hard to interpret, especially at speed." Instead, the MK1 will use an interesting LED strip system to communicate visually at the periphery of your visual field.
The strip, which runs along the bottom of the visor opening, will flash navigation instructions at you in the form of moving green lights on the side you need to turn. An orange light indicates caution, there might be some issues with the road up ahead, and a flashing blue and red light indicates there might be police activity ahead. Forcite says it gathers this information live from "multiple sources," and you can tailor how much of it reaches you through a phone app so you're not overloaded with flashing lights.
The 1,400 mAh battery should last around 5 hours, which is nearly enough for the average day on the road, and we think it's worth pointing out that it's more than double what the Sena 10C or any GoPro you care to name can do. Running cameras is energy-intensive work, and we think Forcite's done a good job squeezing that much out of it. On longer tours, you can probably plug it in to charge live as you ride, if you've got a USB charge port on your bike.
As a helmet, it looks like a nice design: a full gloss or matte carbon shell keeps the weight down to an impressive 1,550 grams (3.4 lb) with 8 vents, an adjustable rear spoiler, and a removable, anti-bacterial, anti-odor liner. The first 1,000 "Founders Edition" lids will ship with two visors - clear, and iridium or dark smoke - and two generic anti-fog inserts to put in them. Crucially, it's also got a drop-down internal sun visor, so you'll never have to remember your sunnies.
It does not, on the other hand, appear to have any buttons on it for all those electronic features. These are relocated to a wireless controller that clips onto your handlebars. That's got its positives and negatives. On the plus side, the controls won't cause any asymmetrical aerodynamics issues and you won't have to sit in traffic with one hand up to your head trying to find the buttons. It'll also let you quick-delete all your footage if you decide that's to your advantage, without having to conspicuously reach for your helmet. On the minus side, you might have to look down at your bars to find them, and switching bikes will be a pain. Forcite doesn't mention voice commands on its site, either.
Forcite tells us the MK1 is "packed with AI" and "learns more about your riding style every time you wear the helmet," although it's unclear what it learns, or what it does with what it's learned, so we'll wait on further information about that.
The 1,000 Founders Edition lids are selling for AU$1,599 (around US$1,120), making it an expensive proposition, even though there's also the chance to win yourself an MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR and an SC Project exhaust for it. The Sena Momentum Pro with its built-in action cam and Bluetooth system will run you about half that price. On the other hand, it's not a full carbon lid, we suspect its camera isn't as good, there's no internal sun visor and it doesn't have Forcite's LED visual communications system.
Deliveries are scheduled for December this year, and test/demo events will be held around Australia. Check out a video below.