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Protecting Heads and the Ideas Inside: Yamaha’s Augmented Reality Helmet


June 21, 2024

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A Yamaha patent application has been published for a new design of an augmented reality (AR) motorcycle helmet. The design introduces transparent lenses, which aim to combine the power of the AR features with the driver’s natural line of sight.


This is not Yamaha’s first ride in the AR helmet lane. In 2015, Yamaha introduced the idea of an AR motorcycle helmet to accompany its electric sports bike concept. However, neither of those products ever hit the retail market.


Yamaha is not the only company to experiment with helmets and AR in the past decade. BMW released an AR motorcycle helmet in 2016, but consumers have reportedly been hesitant to adopt the new technology into their safety wear. Now, more companies such as Japan-based Shoei and Australia-based Forcite are introducing smart helmets that incorporate advanced AR features.


Yamaha’s patent application is for a design that includes four cameras pointing at the user’s eyes, tracking where each eye is looking. The AR system superimposes images onto the user’s view of the road. This design strays from Yamaha’s previous helmet, which covered its user’s eyes entirely, which was found to be a safety concern.


The patent application also references uses beyond motorcycle drivers – including pilots and baseball players. The development of AR motorcycle helmets is gaining speed and consumers in spaces beyond motorcycling may see the same trends follow.

 

Authors: Noa Rapaport and Kasia Donovan

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