Google published a video previewing what it might be like to use an augmented reality headset. It showed all kinds of useful information hanging out in the corner of your vision. Then that same information lowering into your view as you needed to know critical details, like how to get from one place to another. That fascinating concept never made it to life — all we got was Google Glass.
BMW is taking some of that video’s best ideas and turning them into a much more useful product. It’s making a motorcycle helmet with side eye display, allowing information like speed limits, directions, and incoming phone calls to be displayed in your field of view. BMW is calling this helmet a concept for now.
The helmet has an exceptionally snug fit. It is normal for motorcycle. Once it is on, BMW puts you on a stationary motorcycle, complete with rumbling, noise, and fans to throw wind in your face. It then starts the bike off on a virtual drive, with a screen in front of you displaying an empty road that winds past fields of grass and along the side of a cliff.
When the ride starts, a glowing green box appears in the centre, with the bike’s increasing speed displayed on the left and its current gear displayed smaller on the right. Unlike in BMW’s promotional imagery, the demo has only green colour. BMW shows the speed at the bottom, and text is at the top of the road. Might be a problem but adjusting it to your requirement will make it a comfortable tech to use.
Still, even at this prototype stage, it was immediately clear how BMW’s helmet can improve upon some of the key promises of Glass. There’s also an obvious and very helpful use case: motorcycle riders won’t have to look down to see their speed; it also offers pertinent information like road safety updates, maps.
BMW hopes to bring its helmet from concept to a retail product within a few years. It likely still has a lot to do. If BMW can get it all working, this helmet could be one of the first augmented reality headsets worth wearing.
What is your take on this tech from BMW for the riders? Let us know in the comments below.