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The Amazing Skully Helmet
Wearable Tech World Feature Article
November 18, 2013
The Amazing Skully Helmet
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By Rob Enderle
President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group

A few weeks back I got a chance to see the Skully Helmet and if you are a motorcycle rider going through tech withdrawals every time you get on your bike this wonderful piece of motorcycle magic is for you.  While some folks have compered this Helmet to Google Glass that is kind of like comparing a digital watch to your iPhone (News - Alert) display.  The two products aren’t even in the same ballpark except surprisingly for expected price which is in the $1K to $2K range. 


Problem Statement

Unlike Google (News - Alert) Glass which is a technology looking for a problem to solve (I mean really did you ever feel you really needed a camera on your head and a display in your face all the time?) today’s Motorcycle rider is, compared to a driver of a current car, massively tech poor.   The current generation motorcycles have fuel injection and some even have anti-lock brakes but sound systems, navigation, and Smartphone support either doesn’t exist or it is a mess of non-cooperating sometimes working stuff that often seems more likely to get you killed then get you safely where you are going.   Cars increasingly are getting sensors to warn of impending accidents while bikes riders, who are far more exposed, likely have their first clue of an accident happening behind them when they wake up (if they wake up) in the hospital.  

So a motorcycle rider is in the ironic position of having the greatest need for some of this tech but also being the least likely to get it. 

Opportunity

One of the things that now makes putting all of this stuff on a motorcycle far easier is that much of what you need is already in your Smartphone.   It has built in navigation and communication, it can old your music and play streaming radio services.  In effect your Smartphone is a full entertainment system in your pocket but taping it to your helmet or using it while you are driving could range from painful to deadly pretty quickly.   What you’d need to solve the problem then is a great way to access your Smartphone features safely while wearing a helmet and leaving both hands on the handlebars where they belong.  Thus the Skully Motorcycle helmet. 

The Amazing Skully

OK I don’t even own a motorcycle anymore and I want one of these so badly I can taste it.   One of the coolest aspects of this helmet is a rear view camera which automatically reconciles to the horizon.  If you were to just put a camera on a helmet you’d likely get seasick (bike sick?) because the view would be constantly leaning from side to side as you do.   But the Skully helmet camera compensates so what you see is a steady horizontal image.   This has the added benefit of allowing you to remove your mirrors which often get in the way and can impale you during a crash. 

The Helmet uses a heads up display which can be used to display a map from your phone’s GPS system, your music library, or your cell phone features allowing you to navigate between them.   With a built stereo speakers and microphone you can use voice command to navigate between the features, enjoy your tunes, and find where you are going, or just decide to chat on the phone while leaving your hands on the handlebars.   I suppose you could also watch a movie, but I’d advise against that on a bike, even so, with a heads up display, it would still be safer than doing the same thing in a car.   

Of course the coolest part is that you get somewhat the experience of on Iron Man (the Marvell (News - Alert) character) helmet and that lone would likely make this helmet worth the cost of entry.  

Wrapping Up:  21st Century Motorcycle Rider

All of this leads you to the obvious conclusion that the Skully helmet potentially turns any motorcycle rider into a 21st century rider by allowing them to embrace and use the mobile technology that is currently defining this century.   This is huge step into the future of bike riding and it certainly makes me want to own a bike again.  I imagine a few folks will paint their Skully so that it looks like Iron Man’s helmet, me maybe a bit more Batman, but were I still riding a bike I’d put the Skully Helmet on my short list of things I want for Christmas.    




Edited by Ryan Sartor


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