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[LOCAL NEWS] Singaporean's smart helmet won international award

CHARLES LEE - 4th Feb 2017

Singapore has successfully stick a foot into the realm of technology in the cycling industry. Singaporean Eu-wen Ding and his partner, Jeff Chen, have designed and created a smart bicycle helmet that proudly took a spot in the Transport Category of the 2016 Beazley Designs of the Year. The prestigious award is held annually and organised by The Design Museum in London. Every winner will receive a trophy and his or her product will be exhibited in the museum until 19 February.  

The winning factor of the smart helmet lies with the straps of LED lights on the front, rear and sides of the headpiece. Whenever a cyclist brakes, the rear LED lights will be turned on to alert other motorists. When he or she presses a button on the wireless remote device that is mounted on the handlebar to signal a turn, the LED indicator lights on the corresponding side of the smart helmet will light up.

The journey of coming up with the smart helmet has been a fulfilling but tumultuous one. The product of what we have seen today is the fruition of three years of crowdfunding. Through Kickstarter, the 31-year-old entrepreneur and his partner managed to raise about S$1.3 million to engage a manufacturer to produce the helmets on a production scale. So far, about 14,000 units have been shipped to the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

The idea of the smart helmet was first conceived when Eu-wen was studying at Harvard University. Having experienced a few near-accidents whilst on his bicycle, Eu-wen decided to design a headgear that gives visibility to other road users.

A year after meeting Jeff, who was also a student at Harvard, in 2013, Eu-wen made the decision to stop schooling and co-founded the company Lumos in the United States (US) to work on the helmet. The partnership turned out to be a great pairing, with Eu-wen handling the business and marketing, while Jeff manages the areas on engineering and manufacturing.

The smart helmet, christened Lumos, has a built-in accelerometer that detects braking and activates red brake lights accordingly. Weighing about 440g, it has a rechargeable battery that provides juice for up to six hours. Meeting both US and European safety standards, the smart helmet costs about US$180.

It certainly took a number of trials and errors to arrive at the Lumos of today. Eu-wen recounted that the first prototype was visibly very ugly. He recalled: "One of our friends donated her helmet to us. We basically tore it apart, we dug into it and we put electronics inside. There were wires coming out of it... People were stopping me on the streets and asking what it was."

At present, the company is working on making different sizes of the smart helmet, and there are plans to design a smart helmet specifically for children.

Mr Marcus Fairs, who is the editor-in-chief of design magazine Dezeen and a member of the judging panel, was impressed with the Lumos. He said: "The Transport category is usually occupied with grand schemes for planes, trains and automobiles, but something as simple as a helmet that helps a cyclist to become more visible and safer is just as important." He added: "Transport is not only about city-defining projects that are 20 years in the making; it is about the everyday experience of commuters as well."

Source:

https://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/media_centre/singapore_headlines/2017/201702/headlines_20170201.html

Have your say

 I have bought a resale one from a seller who has only worn it once and its not huge for him. Used it for a number of times already and these are the stuff i wanna comment on.

Pros:

Decent battery life , my helmet could last up for 2 trips of between 3 to 4 hrs before needing to recharge. 1 trip of 3 hrs if the brake mode is on. The remote which comes to with it lasts even longer around 4 trips of 3 to 4 hrs.

Lights are very bright, espically during foggy wee hours in the morning. when low battery alarm is also pretty good, as it will not totally shut off (unless u deliberately dun charge it even when its low batt) will last. life span of low battery is also pretty long, its enuff to last nearly 1hr 20mins.

Theres a braking function incorporated into the helmet. The LEDs will automatically become bright when the motion sensor on the helmet sense u stopped or slow down to a very slow coasting.  when i tried out its pretty sensitive, even not a complete stop or very slow glide, it will brighten a few seconds and will revert back when i start cruising. the downside is it consumes alot of batter life

cushion internals are also good, easily able to strip out and wash and put back easily. the velcro sticks under the helmet is also strong. mine did not even come out.

Easily able to mount a camera on top of the helmet..no glares from the rear lights whatso ever

Packaging is good, comes with detail instructions, charger, wire connectors for helmet and remote (yes the connectors are different, its not mini hdmi, usb and typical of the common kinds of connectors). niffy and easily foldable to store away box.

Seems to come only in adult size  (54 - 62CM). but i heard there a smaller size circulating

Cons:

Helmet front (area around the temples area) construct is narrower. My friend couldnt wear it despite our sizes being the same. As for me i like to wear a bandana under helmets, but the helmet will fit very uncomfortably if i wear. THe squeezed feeling on the temples. Luckily it fits snugglingly if i dont wear a bandana. Hence not all heads are able to fit it despite the largest size. So do test out before buying.

The light combination of flashing, sos ..brake mode need some time to remember the button combo. starting out i keep pressing the wrong combos

Quite a steep price

Final thoughts: 
A good and great way of making yourself visible and an innovative way of putting it. But as the geometry of the helmet is narrower, not all can fit. even with the biggest size
I have not test it in the drizzle or rain, but i do hope its water resistance


- albatross , Singapore. 31st Mar 2017 10:44 PM