Shoei hint at a new tech laden lid with Bluetooth and HUD

As the first of the big-name helmet makers to take the plunge, is the IT-HT the first serious fully integrated ‘Smart Helmet’?

Shoei IT-HT

SHOEI has announced they are joining the hi-tech world of smart helmets as they announce the creation of a lid with integrated Bluetooth and HUD (Head Up Display) at CES in Vegas.

The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is the place to go to find out the tech we are going to be using in years to come. It’s a worldwide showcase that sees companies from every conceivable sector coming to exhibit and motorcycling is becoming a key sector at the Las Vegas event.

So-called smart helmets have been around for some time now but, most are crowd-funded start-ups, and when the crowd’s funds dry up, so does the idea, meaning the products rarely make it to market.

Shoei is looking to change that, by being the first of the big motorcycle helmet manufacturers to announce a mass-produced lid with all the gizmos and tech included. The product is being built in conjunction with a company called NS West who make HUD for the automotive sector – dashboards and such like.

Shoei IT-HT1.jpg

What is HUD?

Meaning Head-Up-Display, the idea is that the normal info you’d have to glance away from the road to see is projected inside the lid right before your eyes. Companies do this either by having a small transparent screen in the lid the information is projected onto or by projecting it directly onto the visor.

The Shoei looks to use a small transparent window (see above) to the information to the rider, an easier option than projecting on to the curved plastic of the visor.

What can it display?

Pretty much anything that you tell it to. The lid itself will more than likely just be the screen, you’ll need a Bluetooth enabled phone to provide the data but, once you tell the phone what you want to see the possibilities are almost endless. Sat nav turn-by-turn directions, text messages, incoming call information.

What else makes the helmet ‘smart’?

Having Bluetooth connectivity means the lid will already have the working to make and receive calls so it’s a given it’ll be able to that. Alongside that playing music, audio directions and speed camera warnings are all just a line of computer programmers code away.

Like I said earlier, HUD and Bluetooth tech aren’t new in a lid, the problem is that we’ve never seen any financially viable (and reliable) examples come to market. And yes, I know there are a myriad of aftermarket companies that offer some or all of these features but, the thing that puts me off them is the whole saga of actually fitting the stuff and making it work. The fact that this should be plug, play and ride is a massive win for Shoei.

We should think that a full production-ready version can’t be far away, it wouldn’t make sense for Shoei to unveil this now if it wasn’t ready for at least a public reveal this spring.

We asked the girls and boys at Shoei for comment but as yet haven’t heard back – when we do we’ll bring you any more insight we can get.