Designer: Mr. Wouter Walmink - visiting researcher
Design Type: safety helmet
Launch Year: 2014
-- Design opportunity -- Helmets can save us from harm during riskful activities like skating and rock-climbing. In most countries they are mandatory for motorcyclists and some places even require bicyclists to wear them. While helmets are an almost ubiquitous form of protection gear, new developments in the design mainly focus on their primary purpose: safety. LumaHelm demonstrates that adding interactivity to helmets creates new product opportunities. It may not only make the helmet safer, but also more fun to wear. -- Prototype design -- LumaHelm is a cycling helmet outfitted with 104 multi-colour LEDs that can be individually controlled. This turns the curved surface into a display, visible from every angle. The helmet features a built-in accelerometer, which offers a range of applications for the helmet. At the moment, implemented functions include: * Act as an indicator and breaking light for cyclists, * Amplify a skateboarder’s moves by translating them in real-time to color and pattern, * Communicating a mountain climber's heart rate through a pulsating heart rate pattern. -- Intention behind LumaHelm -- LumaHelm is an inspirational device that is aimed at provoking producers and users of helmets to think of what the helmet could do beyond structural protection. It explores what could happen when a helmet allows users to communicate, express themselves, and play. Through the LumaHelm we want to engage in an ongoing conversation with helmet users, leading us to new product opportunities in interactive helmet design. -- An underexplored opportunity for wearable technology -- A large part innovation in wearable technology is focused on device integration in clothes and on the body. We believe helmets provide a great opportunity for augmentation as they offer a rigid surface, are clearly visible and have a range of applications. Activities like cycling, construction work and cave expedition all feature unique user needs that could be designed for. -- Business potential -- In recent years, we have seen interactive technologies in clothing move from research prototypes to commercial successes. The LumaHelm shows the potential of interactivity and helmet design, offering product opportunities for the many activities in which helmets are worn: cycling, skateboarding, rock climbing, construction sites, snowboarding, horse riding, American football, sky diving, and more. The use of helmets is increasing with rising safety awareness and tighter health regulations. Our work taps into this expanding market and points to new opportunities by merging helmets with electronics. Furthermore, we foresee that the growing DIY/maker community can be served by offering safe and flexible add-ons for their helmets like easily mountable sensors and LED meshes that can be wrapped around any helmet. Allowing them to design their own applications can in turn inspire producers of helmets about the kind of functionality that users may be looking for in interactive helmets.