With a full carbon shell, twin 1080p cameras front and rear, Bluetooth audio, active noise cancelling, Alexa-powered voice control and a proper drop-down HUD screen, this Taiwanese smart helmet seems to tick a ton of boxes for an early bird Kickstarter pledge of US$899.
It's hard to say when the idea of a HUD motorcycle helmet first popped into the consciousness of the motorcycling world. Perhaps when we started seeing the hundred thousand-dollar beasts the Air Force gives its fighter pilots. Perhaps when we first saw Tony Stark talking to his Jarvis assistant through his Iron Man suit helmet, and looking at all sorts of information overlaid on the real world.
But the idea has been persistent, and nobody has nailed the execution yet. So an opportunity exists to be the first to really smash the AR smart helmet thing out of the park, and Taiwanese company Jarvish is warming up at bat.
As of today, its AR-X and X helmets are available for "launch special" pledges on Kickstarter: the AR-X for $899, and the lower spec non-HUD X model for $399.
Both models give you a full carbon full face shell, which looks like a nice enough design and keeps the weight down to an impressive 1,400 g (3.08 lb) for the X, and 1,750 g (3.75 lb) for the X-AR. These weights, mind you, are only impressive when you consider what's added in as standard.
The X gives you a full Bluetooth intercom and communications system, complete with microphone, ear speakers, and six hours' worth of battery. Jarvish says it incorporates active noise cancelling, but we're not sure whether that's just wind noise reduction on the mic so people can understand you at speed on a phone call, or whether it extends to actually phase-cancelling wind noise to keep the ride quiet inside your lid. We'll find out soon enough, there's a review unit on its way.
The X also incorporates a chin-mounted 1080p action camera with 16 GB of built-in storage and the facility to add MicroSD cards up to 256 GB. Everything is controlled either through an iOS/Android app, or via voice control by saying "Hi Jarvish" – you can use it to start streaming live video to social media channels, or make phone calls, or control things like headset volume. Jarvish is so confident in this voice control tech – which interfaces with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant to answer more complex queries – that there are no external buttons on the lid to interfere with the aerodynamics.
Moving up to the X-AR gives you all of the above (minus two hours' worth of battery life) plus an additional rear camera, and the money shot: that augmented reality HUD, which retracts away when it's not wanted, and slides down into view over your left eye when you ask for it.
It's a portrait-oriented screen with a color display set so you don't have to focus on it to see it – you look straight through at the road as per normal. It shows battery level, time, video recording status, your speed (as measured by onboard GPS), compass, navigation prompts, media and incoming call information, weather information, plus an indicator of whether the helmet's listening to your commands or not. Here's what it looks like, in a refreshingly non-faked up video.
It seems like a pretty complete package, particularly for $899. Jarvish says the helmets charge wirelessly, which will eliminate one fiddly aspect of high-tech helmet use, and they come with an "anti-fog film," although this appears to be a goop that's applied to the visor rather than a proper pinlock-style insert.
The shell, designed in co-operation with an unnamed German company, looks pretty good to us, with venting on the top and back to keep some air circulation going, and a lacquered carbon finish that'll never go out of style.
As always, the proof will be in the pudding. Jarvish expects to begin shipping the X model in August 2019, followed by the X-AR in September 2019. We should have a review unit of the X model in our hands by January.
Check out the pitch video below.
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