One of the Deakin researcher has come up with a smart bicycle helmet that is capable of adjusting its ventilation to suit different race conditions.
Dynaero, the smart bicycle helmet is a protective sports equipment with Bluetooth technology for connection with the sensors and computers embedded in high performance bikes and does the thinking for the cyclists, opening or closing of the air vents of their helmets in response to temperature, speed and other factors.
Dr. James Novak, from Deakin University School of Engineering has used 3D printing in developing the helmet and mentioned that it has the potential of boosting performance in international competitions such as the Tour de France.
“Most helmets are static products and don’t change to suit the race conditions,” Dr. Noval said,
“Specialist time trial helmets are designed with almost no ventilation to minimise drag forces but, as a result, they can only be worn for short periods before the athlete risks overheating.
In races like the Tour de France, where each stage lasts four to six hours, helmets have to strike a balance between aerodynamics performance and ventilation; they are not optimised for either extreme.
The Dynaero is highly responsive helmet and will close ventilation during fast down-fill descents or finish line sprints, potentially maximising the cyclist’s aerodynamic performance by 3.7 per cent.
When aerodynamics are less critical, such as during slow hill climbs, the vents open to increase airflow and keep the cyclist cook. In this way, both the performance and health of the cyclist are improved through intelligent design.”
Dr. Novak mentioned that regulations such as the Union Cycliste International (UCI) don’t allow such technology currently but he hopes that this can soon change.
As of now, Dynaero is able to impress the judges in the international wearable technology competition Reshape19 and is one of the ten finalists in the Smart Product Category in this year’s even that took place in Barcelona.
The helmet will also be a part of a traveling exhibition for a year, with three exhibitions already booked in Barcelona and Rome up until April 2020.
As per Dr. Novak, Dynaero has been tested in a wind tunnel alongside commercial helments and earlier 3D printed prototypes.
“The current prototype has been made using selective laser sintered nylon, and is custom designed to fit the wearer and their name embedded as a detail, optimising safety and comfort for cyclists,” Dr. Novak said.
“It features an Arduino Uno, Bluetooth sensor, micro servo and a custom-built mobile phone application that uses a built-in accelerometer to determine speed, controlling the opening of the vents. Future versions of the helmet will be connected to a range of cycling and wearable sensors.”
Source: Deakin University