Biking Meets Bluetooth
By Brad Frischkorn
To be seen or not to be seen – that is the life-and-death question for bicyclists everywhere.
Well, designers at Shenzen Qianhai LIVALL IoT Technology Co. have answered the query -- and then some -- in creating the most functional mass-produced bike helmets ever seen.
Livall’s new Bling helmet is appropriately named, considering the way it stands out with or without a crowd. It's the smartest helmet on the market, and brimming with features for both the serious and the recreational rider.
On the safety side, one would be hard-pressed to find more attention-grabbing mobile headwear. The deluxe version sports a total of 80 LEDs arrayed in rows on top and in the rear, making it impossible to miss, especially at night. All of the lights can be controlled using the Bling Jet remote switch (which straps to the handlebar). The aft-most LEDs can serve as turn signals.
The Bling also contains a sensor that knows if you’ve fallen off the bike, and automatically sends an SOS to a pre-selected emergency contact.
Luxury features include an onboard windbreak mic and Bluetooth speakers for making calls via smartphone, (which straps to the bike via a special mount). Range permitting, riders with compatible helmets can also talk to each other -- cool for group riding.
For entertainment, music can be streamed from the smartphone; the Bling Jet affords a full range of control such as ‘pause’ and ‘skip,’ etc. A helmet-mounted camera can even snap pictures of the trip en route.
Livall’s free mobile app adds more to the experience. Missed smartphone messages can be piped straight to the helmet, and text messages received during the ride can be converted to voice messages and played without taking one’s eyes off the road. With the Nano Cadence Sensor (available with some helmets), speed, distance, and calorie consumption can be tracked.
The Bling’s battery lasts 10 hours on a single charge, and doubles as a power bar for the phone.
“Our new line of helmets are designed primarily with the commuter in mind. Safety is the first concern,” says Livall overseas sales manager Eric Liang. “Of course, with all the LEDs on the helmet you probably won’t need to buy a separate taillight.”
All the gear does take a toll on weight; at 1.13 pounds, the Bling is twice as heavy as most performance cycling helmets, notes Digital Trends reviewer Lee Crane, adding that this could be problematic, depending on the rider and the length of the ride.
Still, no other helmet even comes close in functionality, he says. *If you don’t mind having ‘a circus on your head,’ you’re undeniably more visible with the Bling on full blast, and being able to hear traffic over your music will keep you safer, too.”
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