SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Just kidding. You will totally die. Ironically, you will die while wearing a helmet designed to protect you from dying.
If you’ve ever driven or ridden on a motorcycle, you know the thrill it affords. You’re mere inches from the pavement with nothing but wind between you and those 18-wheel death machines and civilian-driven mid-tier sedans and drunk drivers. The slightest mistake turns into a wipeout, and a wipeout is a scary and potentially lethal proposition.
I’ve been burned by bikes before, so I know. I’m not just being your overprotective mom this time.
But my mom mode kicks in when I hear about devices like Skully, which puts a display in your view with a motorcycle helment.
Sure, it’s useful. You can get directions, turn-by-turn navigation, a rear-view mirror, and even smartphone integration for taking calls on the road. But with a digital card popping into your lower right field of vision, you’re also constantly, instinctively averting your eyes from the road for split seconds. On a fast-moving, carefully balanced bike, a split second is the difference between life and something less than life, whether it’s escaping your mortal envelope entirely or just living in a wheelchair or losing a limb.
Interestingly, the company’s founder, Marcus Weller, also has been in a motorcycle crash due to turning his head slightly to read a street sign. He said the idea for Skully came to him in a dream, and he’s sure the display is a safer option than the alternative — a world of blind spots and lost riders.
“Riders are riding along and they [glance back] to check [blind spots], and that’s extremely dangerous,” said Weller.
He also said the helmet can help with avoiding traffic and finding better routes for riders.
Here’s what the helmet looks like in action:
Of course, no one would make a death app on purpose. The makers of the Skully P1 heads-up display helmet. From the Skully blog:
Research has shown that Heads-Up Display drastically improves safety and awareness. Our founders are riders who know well the risks of distractions and blind spots. Through extensive research and development, Skully Helmets has developed Synapse(TM), the world’s most advanced motorcycle helmet system. The end result is a carefully optimized display and control system that delivers an unparalleled riding experience. We know that once you try it, you will never again want to ride without a Skully Helmet.
Hey, you’re an adult; you make your own judgements and choices. As with riding a motorcycle in the first place, do it at your own risk.
Additionally, the helmet allows third-party devs to build new apps for Skully. Pandora could make a radio; Instagram could make a camera app.
“We have almost 1,000 people signed up for beta testing right now,” said Weller. “At least initially, we want to seed the development community with … what the user interface is. Everything needs to be optimized for the HUD platform.”