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Nolan, Sony team up on augmented reality helmet technology

Ever since Skully’s big crash and burn, we haven’t heard much about motorcycle helmets with augmented reality technology — until now, thanks to Sony and Nolan.

While the new-for-2017 motorcycles are the stars of the EICMA show, gear manufacturers also display their new products and technologies. One of the most interesting pieces of tech was this new prototype helmet from Nolan, dubbed the N-Com ARX — see the video presentation above for more details.

While Skully’s makers talked a lot about GPS, social media connectivity, etc., Nolan seems to be focusing on the display technology for now. Nolan has taken a Sony heads-up display system and re-engineered it to fit inside a helmet, but for now, the company isn’t talking about the other complicated electronics systems that will provide the information beamed into the HUD.

However, it is clear that’s the long-term goal — note the auxiliary brake light on the back of the helmet. That could be initiated by some sort of Inertial Measurement Unit, the same gadgetry every manufacturer is now adding to motorcycles in order to provide stability control. Adding an IMU to a helmet would allow information like speed, lean angle, crash prevention warnings, and much more.

How realistic is this technology? The past few years have shown there’s high demand for motorcycle helmets with augmented reality — several other manufacturers and start-ups are also working on similar designs. We’ve also seen very strong sales in the high-end motorcycle and motorcycle gear segments — Dainese and Ducati are both selling very well.

So, if the research is there, the money’s there, and the demand is there — expect to see this become available in the not-far-off future. And while Skully’s failure may scare some away, Nolan is an established, respected company that isn’t looking for investors. People will trust its product, if/when it comes to market.

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