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Rear-facing camera a step forward toward cycle safety

Tuesday - 5/27/2014, 5:21am  ET

Skully helmet (Skully)
Motorcycle riders can be more aware of their surroundings with a soon-to-be-released helmet (Courtesy Skully)

WASHINGTON -- Keeping eyes on the road is important for all drivers, perhaps even more so for motorcyclists.

Until now, being aware of a motorcycle's surroundings has required riders to divert attention from what's in front of them.

But a new augmented-reality motorcyle helmet, Skully AR-1, has a rear-facing camera that projects what's happening behind the cycle on the helmet's Heads Up Display, near the rider's line of sight.

Similar to Google Glass and other smart eyewear, the Skully helmet can provide GPS mapping, as well as spoken turn-by-turn directions and weather conditions.

The Heads Up Display shows the rear-view camera feed with 180 degrees of viewing angle, which provides coverage for the rider's blind spots.

The company says the display won't obstruct a wearer's vision while riding, appearing approximately 20 feet in front of the rider.

Paired with Bluetooth, a rider can control music, send texts, make calls and change destinations with voice commands.

The unit's battery lasts nine hours, the company says.

The DOT/ECE-certified Skully AR-1 is not available to the public yet. The company says it is beta testing the device, but plans to release the helmets later this year.

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