(By Ben Gruber, Reuters) – For Marcus Weller the idea started off with an accident. He was riding a motorcycle in Barcelona when he took his eyes off the road to look at a road sign and smashed into the back of a car. A couple of years later he dreamt about that accident, but in the dream Weller didn’t crash.
“It was an exact flashback dream of that experience. But the important difference was I wasn’t looking around for street signs and trying to figure out where I was going because I had these GPS maps and they were floating out in front of me like a hologram,” said Weller, the Founder and CEO of Skully Inc.
“I’m going down the road and because I am looking forward I see the car break and I swerved around it and I didn’t get into the accident. That woke me up out of a dead sleep and I sat up in bed and I had goose bumps and I was like ‘that is going to save peoples lives’,” he added.
That dream was the inspiration for what Weller describes as the smartest motorcycle helmet ever developed. Utilizing a state of the art video system, a powerful on board computer and a heads-up display built into the visor, the AR-1 smart helmet enables a rider to basically see in every direction at once with no blind spots.
“What the video system in the helmet does is with zero latency it takes a 180 degree blind spot camera. Its an ultra wide angle camera and it gives you eyes in the back of your head and it renders that in the heads up display,” he said.
Weller says humans aren’t designed to travel at 120 kilometers an hour, an evolutionary hurdle the developers needed to overcome to ensure the technology was in sync with how the human brain processes vision.
“It is leveraging or capitalizing on the way our brains and our visual systems naturally work to put that information back into the field of view, back in infinite focus to wherever I look it is in focus and reducing the reaction time, reducing the likelihood of a life threatening accident,” Weller said.
The helmet syncs to a phone via Bluetooth enabling hands-free calling, GPS navigation, and music streaming – all while keeping your eyes on the road. After years of R&D, the first helmets are scheduled to start shipping out to buyers just in time for Christmas.