Motorcycles

Intelligent Cranium's iC-R – the most ambitious smart motorcycle helmet yet

Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet is the most ambitious high-tech helmet project we've seen to date - twin rear vision cameras, twin transparent LCD heads-up displays, built in GPS, Bluetooth intercom, phone connectivity, LiDAR collision warnings, and an electronically tinting visor, all topped off with a built-in solar panel.
Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet is the most ambitious high-tech helmet project we've seen to date - twin rear vision cameras, twin transparent LCD heads-up displays, built in GPS, Bluetooth intercom, phone connectivity, LiDAR collision warnings, and an electronically tinting visor, all topped off with a built-in solar panel.
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Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet: twin rear facing cameras can completely eliminate blind spots, giving you 360-degree vision at all times
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Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet: twin rear facing cameras can completely eliminate blind spots, giving you 360-degree vision at all times
Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet - e-tint visor turns dark when a small voltage is applied
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Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet - e-tint visor turns dark when a small voltage is applied
iC-R helmet - built in solar panel helps charge what will likely be an enormous battery
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iC-R helmet - built in solar panel helps charge what will likely be an enormous battery
iC-R helmet - sensors will include GPS, LiDAR and twin cameras.
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iC-R helmet - sensors will include GPS, LiDAR and twin cameras.
iC-R helmet - 210-degree rear view angle completely eliminates blind spots
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iC-R helmet - 210-degree rear view angle completely eliminates blind spots
iC-R helmet - collision detection system LED warning lights
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iC-R helmet - collision detection system LED warning lights
iC-R helmet - built-in audio system for audio prompts, media playing and intercom functions
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iC-R helmet - built-in audio system for audio prompts, media playing and intercom functions
iC-R helmet - LiDAR collision detection system warns riders when cars are approaching fast from behind, to avoid rear-enders when stopped at traffic lights
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iC-R helmet - LiDAR collision detection system warns riders when cars are approaching fast from behind, to avoid rear-enders when stopped at traffic lights
iC-R helmet - Bluetooth connectivity with built-in LiDAR and GPS sensors
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iC-R helmet - Bluetooth connectivity with built-in LiDAR and GPS sensors
iC-R helmet - various colours and designs will be available
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iC-R helmet - various colours and designs will be available
iC-R helmet - shell design sheet
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iC-R helmet - shell design sheet
iC-R helmet - various colours and designs will be available
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iC-R helmet - various colours and designs will be available
Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet is the most ambitious high-tech helmet project we've seen to date - twin rear vision cameras, twin transparent LCD heads-up displays, built in GPS, Bluetooth intercom, phone connectivity, LiDAR collision warnings, and an electronically tinting visor, all topped off with a built-in solar panel.
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Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet is the most ambitious high-tech helmet project we've seen to date - twin rear vision cameras, twin transparent LCD heads-up displays, built in GPS, Bluetooth intercom, phone connectivity, LiDAR collision warnings, and an electronically tinting visor, all topped off with a built-in solar panel.

The Intelligent Cranium iC-R motorcycle helmet is a design concept stuffed to the gills with futuristic functionality. We're talking twin full-colour LED heads-up displays, twin rear-facing cameras, built-in Bluetooth communications, phone connectivity, voice controls, LiDAR rear-ender collision warnings, and an electronically controlled LCD visor that tints itself dark at the touch of a button. There will be more electronics stuffed into this brain bucket than the Skully, Livemap or Nuviz efforts (none of which seem close to actually delivering a product yet), so battery life will be an issue. To combat this, the iC-R helmet has a solar panel built into the top of it to charge as you ride. All this for a projected retail price of US$1600. Can it be done?

Let's take a quick look at each of the iC-R's features, starting with the twin heads-up displays. Sourced from a German company, these transparent LCD screens operate interchangeably as rear-view systems as well as heads-up data displays.

By default, these displays show vision from the rear-facing cameras, providing a 210-degree field of rearward view. "Looking at Skully's product, they've got a wide-angle camera that gives the rider 180 degrees, which is a great field of view," Intelligent Cranium CEO Ambrose Dodson tells us. "But once a vehicle gets past that field of view, the rider still has a blind spot. Two cameras and 210 degrees of view completely eliminates that blind spot."

Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet: twin rear facing cameras can completely eliminate blind spots, giving you 360-degree vision at all times
Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet: twin rear facing cameras can completely eliminate blind spots, giving you 360-degree vision at all times

That 360-degree vision idea is the heart of this entire project. Dodson, not a motorcyclist himself, noticed that bikers around him in traffic had to turn their heads and take their eyes off the road in front of them in order to safely change lanes. "I saw this as a really big issue for motorcycle riders, and started thinking about what I could do to make riding safer," Dodson says, "both for current riders, and for myself in the future. I've been wanting to ride a motorcycle for the longest time."

The twin screens can also be set to show navigation, speed, telemetry and call data from your smartphone, as well as media information and anything else people can devise to show on there, because the iC-R plans to ship with an open SDK for app developers to use the screens as they please. The helmet has its own built-in GPS unit to give you an accurate heads-up speedometer, as long as you're not riding in a tunnel.

The Bluetooth communications component includes helmet-to-helmet communications with other riders, as well as mobile phone connectivity for calls, audio and navigation streaming. It's also designed to take voice commands.

Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet - e-tint visor turns dark when a small voltage is applied
Intelligent Cranium's iC-R helmet - e-tint visor turns dark when a small voltage is applied

The e-tint visor is impregnated with LCD crystals that darken "in less than a second" when a low voltage current is applied, to give you an instant tinted visor at the touch of a button. In the event of a power failure, the visor defaults back to clear.

The collision proximity warnings are an unique touch - the helmet has a built-in LiDAR sensor facing backwards to warn riders about potential rear-enders, for example while waiting at traffic lights. The sensors will gauge the proximity and approach speed of a following vehicle and flash LED warning lights into the rider's periphery of view if it's starting to look like somebody might run into the back of you. It seems like an expensive addition given that you've already got twin rear-facing cameras that should show you exactly what's happening behind you, but Dodson says it's mainly there to assist at night, when the rear vision might not be so easy to interpret.

iC-R helmet - sensors will include GPS, LiDAR and twin cameras.
iC-R helmet - sensors will include GPS, LiDAR and twin cameras.

Two video cameras, two heads-up screens, a Bluetooth comms system, audio gear, GPS and a LiDAR system - in technical terms, that's a boatload of electronics to run. The battery will need to be enormous. Dodson tells me the design team is shooting for an 8-hour battery life from a single charge.

Put it this way – the Sena 10C headset has one camera, a Bluetooth communications kit, and no screens, and that lasts two hours on a battery. The iC-R is much more ambitious; it will need a monster power pack. The iC-R team will hopefully get back to us soon with an estimated capacity, and we'll update this piece when they do. There's also the challenge of where to pack a potentially volatile LiPo pack to prevent it from getting punctured in an accident and giving riders a bad case of BBQ noggin.

iC-R helmet - built in solar panel helps charge what will likely be an enormous battery
iC-R helmet - built in solar panel helps charge what will likely be an enormous battery

The solar panel built into the top of the lid will help the battery out during the daytime, but I don't have a great sense of how much. The panel itself looks maybe 5 or 10 times the size of the kind of thing you'd see on a solar charging LED flashlight, but obviously the iC-R has a ton more power-hungry gear to run. Hopefully the team can provide us some numbers on what kind of extra battery life we can expect the solar panel to provide over a day's riding. Stay tuned.

I have my doubts about whether full color, programmable high-res video screens will be looked upon favorably in the DOT accreditation process, particularly if they can be set to play a video while you ride thanks to the open SDK. That could be a challenge – and keeping the weight down with such a lot of on-board electronics will be tough as well. But likewise these are challenges Skully has already faced to get its DOT and ECE approval stickers, so potentially the trail has been blazed for competitors like the iC-R.

Then there's the pricing. The Skully AR-1, which is at this point still just a prototype with promises of June delivery now delayed to December this year, is pre-selling for US$1499 – that's without a solar panel, a second display, a second rear view camera or this LiDAR proximity warning business. Intelligent Cranium plans to sell you the iC-R for US$1399 if you pre-order. Is that price point achievable? "I believe it is," says Dodson. "It takes research and the right partnerships to get it there. Looking at our projected costs, I suspect that Skully has built in a very healthy profit margin."

Intelligent Cranium has specced out the most ambitious high-tech smart helmet to date. We wish Dodson and the team the best of luck getting funded through their iC-R Indiegogo campaign, which has just gone live, and we hope to play with a production model sometime around 2017, the projected "no later than" launch date.

Check out the launch video below.

The Official iC-R Motorcycle Helmet Concept Video

13 comments
Nik
Does it wipe the rain off, and demist?
Tommo
It would be safer and way easier to power it from the bikes power instead of battery power.
Techtwit
I assume the LiDAR will know when the wearer moves his/her head around and won't alarm when it senses the rear of the bike, traffic overtaking in adjacent lanes etc. etc.? Wonder if knowing you are about to rear-ended actually takes the pain out of the experience? Often there will not be anywhere to move to to avoid the four (or more) wheeled idiot behind. Twin rear facing cameras, brilliant with a pillion passenger right behind you. Ever heard of rear view mirrors? Bikers already have many things competing for their attention when riding, especially in built up areas. additional pointless info does not help. Not surprised the developer is not a biker.
Wolf0579
I think I may be in love! What I'm left wondering about is the snell rating of the helmet's shell.
PaulDrotar
1) What about heat? Full face lids are warm enough in the summer WITHOUT electronics... 2) Will the LiDAR system continue to annoy one when they are stopped in traffic? 3) The LAST thing one needs is internet access as one rides. I like the idea of the extra eyes, but the rest doesn't seem to add anything.
GraemeSydney
My first concern would be unnecessary weight, I think some of the features are good but others maybe overloading technofreak gadgets. I would have to try them to assess them. I guess or hope you could always turn them off. Needs charging on the move. Have a small battery for convenience and short trips (to the shops and to work). but have a quick and easy connection for the longer trips and/or battery top up. A forward facing Dash Cam and recording ability - even if these function are off the helmet and connected by Bluetooth. Or do the opposite; have a unit/s on the bike and the info Bluetoothed to the helmet for display. Maybe better still have it an aftermarket fit to established brands - the helmets first and most important role is a safe helmet. The helmet that works best is the one that fits best, from safety to comfort. You can't expect the one helmet to suit a wide range of heads without compromise. I would always choose safety first and gadgets next. Work with some of the established brands names. Rules allowing, some of the racers might be interested and helpful in the development. Good marketing at the very least. If Vale or Jorge is using it every would be could be racers in the world will want one. Ciao.
xs400
Expensive toy. And media information on the display? - that nullifies all the safety features!
ChrisLeavitt
Most concerns have already been addressed... but in addition, what about the design of the helmet? It appears aerodynamic for a rider who never turns his head. Will those crimps cause additional buffeting/wind resistance/noise if you turn your head?
iCR_Support_Team
First the ICH Dream Team would like to thank everyone for reviewing our Smart Motorcycle Helmet concept we are actively trying to bring to market for riders abroad. We welcome all positive and constructive comments and want to ensure everyone knows that this feedback is being recorded by our team and strongly considered for the final product. With that being said: @ChrisLeavitt: This is a valid question and concern. We assure you that this will be tested during the prototyping phase and the final helmet shape/design will be aerodynamic, but again we appreciate the thought and concern.
iCR_Support_Team
@xs400: This helmet is a very serious project and is being created with the utmost safety of riders in mind. The displays and content displayed on these screens will be shown very very briefly. The only thing that will be constantly displayed/streamed is the 210 degrees field of view from the real-time rear view cameras. Of course we're expecting riders to use common sense when using this helmet and only utilize the screens when needed (i.e., when changing lanes or from a stopped position). The same "brief" utilization a driver uses when glancing at their speedometer, changing the radio, etc. What we will bring with this helmet in the final product will increase the level of safety for all riders. There are also similar products that display almost the same information.
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