”One of the things we wanted to do was make a helmet that was more exciting to look at,” the 28-year-old says. ”We saw an opportunity where we thought no one had seen it before.”
The LumaHelm is based on a standard helmet fitted with lights powered by AA batteries and a sensor that measures movement of the cyclist’s head.
An Arduino microcontroller placed in the cyclist’s pocket translates those movements into light patterns.
As well as lighting up when a cyclist turns, the helmet, which meets Australian safety standards, lights up at the back when a cyclist brakes.
Mr Walmink says his invention could improve cyclist safety. ”I wanted to make people more visible. I have been cycling around a little bit with this helmet and people definitely notice you coming,” he says.
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As a cyclist who has been hit by a truck, I am all for anything that will give us a bit of an edge over the inevitable. One aspect of a lot of blinky lights and colors is that it tends to draw the attention of drivers, especially at night, and for reasons unclear the drivers are drawn to the lights and occasionally drive right into them.
Not sure of the mechanism, but this was explained to me by a cop at one time whose car got rear-ended by a driver who was drawn to the blue/red flashing lights at night, and rather than avoiding them BANG!!! right into the car (and the cop, who survived but was severely injured). So I wonder how much and what kind of lights, flashing, colors, etc. is best at not encouraging the worst outcome?