One of the more interesting products we’ve seen popping up in reports from the AIME show is a helmet from SENA with noise-canceling technology built in.
If you want to understand how active noise control technology works, read here. Basically, the technology uses sound waves to cancel out other sound waves and reduce noise levels. This sort of technology has long been available in the world of aviation, in plane and helicopter cockpits — and even flight helmets.
SENA is now going to offer similar technology in a street helmet, reducing a rider’s need for earplugs. Riders should still be able to hear traffic noises, conversation, sirens, etc., with the system installed. According to their site, once you have a compatible helmet (for now, available in the SENA Smart Helmet), you “Simply snap in the INC™ module and toggle the “on” button to activate the system. The module analyzes sound information from an array of four networked microphones and adjusts in real time to phase out harmful helmet noise.”
There are a lot more details on the helmet and system on SENA’s website here. It’s a very interesting piece of technology, and it’s surprising nobody already offers it. The benefits for long-distance tourers, in particular, are many. Considering how much money people are willing to spend on custom-fit earplugs, this noise-canceling system will certainly have plenty of interest.
However, it’s worth noting several things. One, the actual helmet maker is undetermined. Two, we don’t have an availability date or MSRP. Three, SENA hardly has years of experience selling helmets, in what’s arguably motorcycling’s toughest sub-market — they have a lot of people to win over. While the noise-canceling system might be very desirable, if it’s only available for SENA’s helmet, it might not prove popular for people without a “SENA head.” But it seems from SENA’s marketing copy that the system will eventually interface with other helmets, so that shouldn’t be an issue.