Skully AR-1 Smart Helmet: Motorcycle Helmets Go High Tech

Skully’s new high-tech AR-1 helmet is so cool it’s getting mainstream press attention and generating pre-orders a year before it’s released. The innovative helmet uses technology to improve safety and convenience with features like an integrated heads-up display, rear-view camera, visual- and audio-controlled GPS navigation, and voice control — all connectable to smartphones and the Internet. The helmet has motorcycle enthusiasts excited, and has people wondering what’s looming next on the helmet technology horizon.

HUD Display

Heads-up display, a technology originally developed for fighter pilots, has been available for cycle helmets since 2005 when Motion Research Corporation introduced SportVue. The helmet displayed speed, RPM, and gear setting on the wearer’s face shield. Skully’s technology has been in accelerated development for the last year, and the company is racing to compete with manufacturers such as LiveMap, NUVIZ, and Reevu, Gizmag reported last November.

Thanks to advances and integration with wireless networks, Motorcycle HUD displays can now show not only vehicle-related information such as speed and distance, but also navigational maps, weather charts, instant message alerts, and music library lists. These features improve safety and convenience by making it easier to navigate and access electronic information without taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the handlebars. Motorcycle helmets from a variety of vendors are available from, where Aaron Cortez has been keeping a close eye on developments in HUD displays. As he notes, one difference between Skully’s new helmet and competing products is the AR-1 integrates a number of features that are available as modular add-ons to other helmets with a lower price point.

Rear-view Camera

Helmets with built-in rear-view mirror systems have been on the market since at least 2005 when Reevu introduced its MSX1 helmet. The MSX1 mounted a mirror in the helmet’s brow just above the rider’s eye, enabling the rider to look back by glancing up. Do-it-yourselfers have tried to replicate this type of system by attaching a camera to the rear of their bike and connecting it to a helmet-mounted display. Skully’s latest contribution to this technology is integrating a rear-view camera inset into the lower right corner of its HUD display, similar to the miniature chat window used on Skype. This lets drivers check behind them without checking their mirrors or turning their heads.

GPS Navigation

The AR-1 comes with on-board GPS maps that can be supplemented by connecting to the Internet wirelessly via a smartphone, Mashable’s Alex Magdaleno explains. Popular Mechanics adds that Skully founder Marcus Weller ultimately envisions a smart system where riders can use a navigation app to optimize routes, factoring in speed preferences and traffic. Realizing this vision will make navigation easier than ever.

App Expansions to Come

The AR-1 uses Bluetooth technology to connect to your smartphone, enabling wireless Internet connection and applications such as streaming music and phone calls to your helmet. Skully plans to offer more apps for the AR-1 and will also allow developers to expand applications, BGR reports. As other manufacturers follow suit, this will potentially give helmets the same capability as Google Glass and other wearable devices, enabling a flexible range of applications. For instance, accident survivor Ryan Shearman is currently developing a helmet that will include a service contacting the rider in the event a crash is detected.

About the Author: Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, and business coaching.