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Motorcycle helmet sports Android HUD, rear camera

Oct 22, 2013 — by Eric Brown 6,864 views

Skully Helmets has begun beta testing a motorcycle helmet equipped with an Android based heads-up display (HUD). The Skully P1 is equipped with voice controls, Bluetooth sync to smartphones, GPS navigation, and a 180-degree rearview camera.

On Oct. 17, the Skully P1 helmet from Silicon Valley startup Skully Helmets was one of five winners of Demo 2013’s DemoGod Award. The P1 is on its way to an SDK (software development kit) release later this year, followed by first production shipments sometime in 2014.

Skully P1 helmet with Android-based heads-up display
(click images to enlarge; source: Skully Helmets)


The Skully P1 runs a customized version of Android on an unstated processor. The computer is housed in a fin extension built on top of the helmet, while the “Synapse” heads-up display is located on an adjustable ball joint in the lower right corner of the rider’s field of view. The display appears to the rider as if it is about 6 meters away, according to the company.


The feature set appears to be somewhat fluid at this point, but the main purpose is to show the output from a 180-degree wide angle rearview camera. In this way, riders can view both sides of their rear view without tilting their head to check a rear-view mirror, or turning around, providing them with an “unprecedented level of situational awareness,” says Skully.

Heads-up display examples
(click images to enlarge; source: Skully Helmets)


As shown above, the view also incorporates GPS mapping data, which can be toggled between a simple view or an expanded map with turn-by-turn navigation. Bluetooth is provided for syncing up with smartphones, letting riders use voice controls to “control your music, send texts, make calls, and change your destination,” says the company. A battery in the helmet is said to run the HUD for 9 hours.

According to a hands-on Engadget report from Demo 2013, the device also provides an accelerometer, gyro, and compass, presumably used for head movement tracking. WiFi is provided to update the helmet, but the HUD is designed to work offline, says the story.

Skully Helmets touts the camera and GPS mapping as a boon to safety, so it’s not surprising that it has gone the extra mile to build safety features into the design of the helmet itself. These and other premium design features are said to include:

  • Complies with U.S. DOT and European ECE safety standards
  • Lightweight, aerodynamic, tricomposite shell
  • 3D laser-cut foam for a perfect fit
  • Fully adjustable flow-through ventilation
  • Anti-fog, anti-scratch, anti-glare face shield
  • Quick release chin strap and visor


A 48-second YouTube demo of the Skully Helmit appears below.

Skully Helmit demo video


LiveMap helmet

This summer, a more ambitious HUD-enabled motorcycle helmet popped up on Indiegogo. The LiveMap helmet didn’t come close to making its funding goal, but the Russian-based startup claims it has received VC funds and will push ahead with the helmet anyway.

The LiveMap is expected to sell for about $2,000, and features a full augmented reality display projected onto the inside of the helmet’s visor. GPS navigation, voice controls, and a video camera are provided, but no rearview camera is mentioned. The OS is not detailed, but is likely either Linux or a heavily modified version of Android.

Both products seem to be based in part on the Google Glass HUD prototype, which has also seen the emergence of some more conventional computerized eyewear. This summer, the Android-based GlassUp device did much better on Indiegogo than LiveMap, earning $100,000 out of its $150,000 goal. However, it ran into trouble with PayPal, which refused to release funds to GlassUp without further evidence the augmented eyewear would be produced. The project appears to be in limbo, at least for the moment.

Skully P1 availability

The Skully P1 will ship sometime in 2013 at an unstated price, says Skully Helmets. Applications are still available for the beta testing program. Approved testers will gain early access to finished products. More information, including a video, and signup for beta testing, may be found at the Skully Helmets website.

(advertise here)

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2 responses to “Motorcycle helmet sports Android HUD, rear camera”

  1. James Cottone says:

    This could really be a life saver for me riding here in Costa Rica. I would certainly like to know about shippin dates and pricing as soon as that data is available.

  2. Steven says:

    I like the skulls helmet, but it is very pricey. It would be nice if scully make a base model that has the rear camera, but has soft wear up grades, if the person wants to do so.this now tech would benefit a lot of people and save lives.
    Regards PO3 S Bathurst USNR.

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