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Helmet with a head-up display and rear-facing camera | NEWS

Could this new system incorporating a rear-facing camera and head-up display spell the end for traditional bike mirrors? UK start-up Zona thinks so

Head-up displays and rear-facing cameras aren’t new in terms of vehicle technology, but a mixture of both that can be retrofitted to any motorcycle just might be.

It’s a simple enough concept, but one that has been very well executed.

A hi-tech camera is fitted to the rear of your motorcycle and powered directly off the bike’s battery. Rather than starting with the bike’s ignition, it uses a motion sensor to know when to switch itself on and off. A receiver is fitted to the rear of your helmet, and this beams the live feed through a very small display that you shove between your helmet’s cheek pad and EPS liner.

It remains to be seen whether this system offers the user any benefits; some argue the distraction of what’s going on behind you being beamed into your vision cancels out any safety enhancements offered in the first place. But, according to British-based company Zona, “it will change the way we ride forever”.

The set-up will hit UK shelves soon priced at £239 (A$405), or can be pre-ordered now for £195 (A$330).     

The camera

The camera itself is pretty trick. The 640×480 resolution isn’t great compared to today’s standards, but the thumbnail size of the display means it doesn’t need to be. It uses a three-axis accelerometer as well as a gyro to not only sense the motorcycle’s movement, but also to ensure the video is smoothed out and devoid of vibrations before it gets to your peeping holes. The camera unit also houses the wireless transmitter.

The receiver

This small unit, which attaches to the rear of your helmet, receives the images from the camera wirelessly via a secure wi-fi connection, before streaming the feed through to the display inside your lid. There’s a memory stick included, to which the footage is saved, operating on a loop, so it records over the top of the previous footage once the drive is full. The receiver is rechargeable via micro-USB.

The display

The display is a thin, flexible arm that you’re supposed to position inside your helmet just below your line of sight. According to Zona, the optics used in the tiny display appear to your eye the same as a 30-inch television screen would if you were standing three metres away from it. From what we can tell, the placement and size of the display will be remarkably similar to a motorcycle’s regular mirrors.


By Kel Buckley