Engadget, the publisher of tech news & reviews runs an interesting feature called Insert Coin that presents an “exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production”.
This week it was the turn of a company called LifeBeam that is apparently better known for its miniature sensing platform that’s been integrated into the helmets of US fighter pilots and astronauts. Now they've decided to apply their technology into the LifeBeam heart-monitoring smart cycling-helmet, billed as “The World’s First Smart Cycling-Helmet”
If you look at their promotional material, like us, you’re already thinking Terminator-like Head-Up-Display and where can you buy one.
But hold on, what they’re actually pitching is this: a helmet with a built-in miniature sensing platform (you know, a bit like the one we do for US fighter pilots and astronauts) that will link to your smartphone or Garmin using ANT+ or Bluetooth and will give you, wait for it…a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) and motion sensor providing data in real-time!
The motion sensor uses accelerometers not GPS so it appears that it can provide a read-out of relative position from your starting point but not absolute position which would need a GPS (planned for the future).
So it's basically an HRM in a helmet with the unique selling point that there’s “no need for uncomfortable HRM chest straps” - try getting some sympathy from your girlfriend/wife for that one! Alternatively you could save your money and just adjust your existing HRM straps so it fits...
For any weight weenies, the claimed weight of the unit is 50g which might not sound a lot but we calculate that it will add 18% to the weight of a vanilla Lazer helmet (280g).
The company reckons they can retail the helmet for $189 USD once they start shipping and all they need from you is a “contribution towards their journey” to help them reach the $50k USD funding they need to bring this product onto the shelves.
The fact that they’re asking for money via crowd funding rather than investing their own implies there isn’t as much money in the fighter pilot/astronaut market as we would've thought.
A solution looking for a problem or have we missed some redeeming feature? Possibly, given that at the time of writing they've raised over $17k USD from 118 investors wanting to get their hands on the first 200 off the production line.
Hasta la vista, baby.
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