Common Tread

iHelmet: Another approach to motorcycle helmet innovation

Feb 18, 2016

Last month, we reported on plans by Bell and 360fly to collaborate on a helmet with a built-in video camera that also promised additional safety measures down the line. Not all of the innovation in this area is taking place in the R&D labs of big companies, however.

Ganindu Nanayakkara
Ganindu Nanayakkara, inventor of the iHelmet. Image from video.
The iHelmet is another approach, geared toward rider safety and convenience, rather than capturing footage for your motovlog. It is the work of young Sri Lankan engineer Ganindu Nanayakkara, who has gained an impressive level of recognition over the past year. He was awarded $500,000 as one of the runner-up selections in the Verizon Powerful Answers Award contest and he was chosen as a participant in the Global Solutions Program at Singularity University, which is sponsored by Google.

The iHelmet incorporates numerous features, which are operated through a smartphone. These include safety features, such alerting the rider of other nearby vehicles, as well as convenience features, like the forehead light that’s similar to one of those strap-on flashlights you use. Some of the safety features are more applicable for some place like Beijing than Boston, like the warning light that alerts the rider of dangerously bad air quality. Most of the world’s motorcyclists live in Asia, however, so it makes sense to gear the product toward those huge numbers of riders. Cost? A little over $100, which is still out of reach for most of those Asian riders, but as the middle class grows, the iHelmet will be more attainable.

The video below shows the features of the iHelmet and this video shows Nanayakkara explaining the features and answering questions.

There are obvious problems to work out, such as the size of the unit and the safety issues it could present in a crash. But it’s great to see innovation taking place in multiple forms and from promising young inventors, as well as the established corporations.