Innovation: Smart Bike Helmet

This bike helmet includes a microphone to capture the wearer's comments and a "black box" recorder for data collection.
This bike helmet includes a microphone to capture the wearer’s comments and a “black box” recorder for data collection.

Bike helmets have long proven their worth by helping to prevent head injuries. Now a team of OSU student interns who worked at Intel last summer has turned the durable plastic shells into an emergency beacon, communicator and diagnostic tool in the event of an accident.

Equipped with electronics that can detect and analyze a crash, the helmet can send messages to designated contacts with details about location and the bike rider’s condition. It can ask the rider questions to help diagnose the likelihood of a concussion. And like the black box on an airplane, it stores crash data that can shed light on dangerous intersections and road conditions.

The helmet stems from a project spearheaded by students in the CreateIT Collaboratory, an industry-sponsored technology think tank in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science directed by OSU engineering professor Don Heer. The collaboratory was launched with start-up funding from the Tektronix Foundation.