I’m sure several people out there have heard about the Skully AR-1 Helmet. It’s an “augmented reality” helmet, which is to say it has a HUD built into the visor that displays a 180 degree behind the rider via a camera. Yes. You read that right, a HUD in a motorcycle helmet. We can easily see the motorcycle helmet hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s been surprisingly simple in design, yet we clamor over new art work or a tweaked visor or a slightly modified design that looks better than the previous version.
So what all does it do? Well, from the information Skully has provided it would seem if your phone is capable of it, then the Skully AR-1 can do it for you.
GPS directions? No problem. That is one of the cool parts. We all know how annoying it can be to be on the bike with a time sensitive destination in mind, yet we don’t know exactly where we’re going, but because we’re on two wheels we don’t have the luxury of easily accessing GPS and have turn-by-turn navigation, much less with a visual map. The AR-1 can do this. In fact, it has two settings according to the demo video. It can give a simplistic version of directions, basically turn here, turn there; and it can handle a more detailed set of directions that shows the traditional GPS map with turn-by-turn instruction. That, my friends, is well worth consideration.
But is that enough to warrant paying what is sure to be an exorbitant amount of money for a fancy piece of tech? What if it could play music for you? The Skully AR-1 can do that too. Actually, it’s voice activated. So instead of having to cram those uncomfortable earbuds into a helmet we’ve got music blaring while we ride and no need to mess with those pesky wires. That’s a plus, right? They don’t have to know we’re not paying 100% attention to our surroundings. It’s built into the helmet for us jam. Now we can be just like every in a cage!
Wait. Did you just say it’s voice activated? I sure did. So I’m guessing you’re thinking what I am, that means the Skully AR-1 is also capable of handling phone calls. That’s right. Now, not only can we listen to music comfortable while we ride, but we can accept calls. Or at the least, those responsible riders can see who called while riding and know there’s a message waiting, but really, who’s going to do that. We’ve got that awesome bit of tech on our heads giving us all this safety with the 180 degree rear facing camera, playing music for us, and accepting phone calls. Of course we’re going to accept that phone call and talk to whoever it is while we ride. Why would we do that? Because we can, of course. After all, isn’t the point of riding to have all the amenities and comforts of being in a cage? That’s what I thought.
Oh yeah, and since the AR-1 is capable of displaying what our phones tell us, there’s also a little bit text messaging going on. Yup, by the looks of it the HUD will display text messages as well. Yep, that’s right, we can read texts, listen to music, and take phone calls while out trying to escape the world. I know that’s what I’m looking forward to on the road. It’s not like there aren’t enough cagers trying to kill me, there’s not enough idiots on two wheels giving me a bad name, or just trying to take me out on group rides because they’re clueless. Nope. Now there’s tech to get in the way and distract them even more.
But isn’t the Skully AR-1 about safety?
That’s what we’re led to believe. Actually, if it’s used properly then it will likely be one of the best investments riders can have considering the price range one that doesn’t require a small, personal loan. I know there’s a lot of hype about the wonders of a HUD for rear facing cameras. Apparently it’s a wonderful tool. No longer do we have to glance to our mirrors, or in the case of those who rock it without mirrors, there’s no longer the need to look over our shoulders to check on what is about to cream us from behind while we’re stopped at that traffic light. The Skully AR-1 definitely has the capability to change motorcycling. I’ll give them that. And, honestly, I’m looking forward to it. There’s an open beta registration over at their website www.skullyhelmets.com right now. I wouldn’t blame you if you hopped on the first link you find and signed up. I know I did. I’m not ashamed of that. I love technology, and something that incorporates technology into my helmet and gives me a few amenities that will make trips simpler I’ll take in a heartbeat.
And speaking of the open beta, I’m going to get something off my chest, this thing is ridiculous. Have you searched for reviews of the Skully AR-1 yet? You should do that. No seriously, I’ll wait. I’m not going anywhere. Give it a try. Go on. . .
I see you’re back. Did you have any better luck than me? I didn’t think so. There’s a HUGE issue here. No one is reviewing this thing. Hell, the only people talking about the helmet are tech blogs. . . Oh yeah, and there are the amateur bloggers who are trying to get some attention from Skully to get their grubby, little hands on a beta test helmet. Me? Yeah, you got me, I’m one of those people. At least to an extent. But that comes in a second, the thing that bothers me is no one in the motorcycle industry is talking about this helmet when I searched for info. It’s all about the technology. Why are magazines not reviewing this brilliant helmet? Why is Skully not doing everything they can to get test helmet in the hands of professionals before the beta test to get some credibility to the hardware? That’s a good question if I do say so. I don’t care what Microsoft Billy has to say about the helmet, or what Google Jim thinks about the Android powered HUD. I couldn’t care less what someone in the tech industry thinks about a about a helmet I’m interested in because that person doesn’t think like me, doesn’t act like me, and damn sure doesn’t ride like me.
Oh yeah, back to that beta test and getting my grubby hands on it like every other mooch on the planet. Will I buy one? That depends on how many organs I have to sell. I’m rather fond of a few of them, especially my kidneys and liver, and since those seem to be the easiest to sell I maybe out of luck. Would I like to have one? You betcha! But that comes with a stipulation: I don’t want a helmet because it’s the newest, coolest, most expensive helmet out there that will make me cool when I’m at a bike night. I don’t do bike nights. I don’t sit around for hours talking about riding and hanging out with people while my bike is right there. If she’s out then you better believe I’m going to be riding her. So no, I won’t be talking about how cool my Skully helmet is with a bunch of riders while sipping on some craft brew pretending I ride. I’ll be out testing the thing making sure it’s actually safe. Which brings me to what I’m sure you’re asking yourself. . .
If I’m dogging on Skully and this helmet and their genius marketing plan to get the word out publicly why would they ever give me a beta?
Another good question, and I don’t know why they would. Probably because they’re crazy. They did just put a rear facing 180 degree camera in a helmet with a HUD that gives you updates from your phone and plays music for you. They’re crazy. I mean you know.
But the thing is, I won’t blow smoke up your ass about the helmet. I’ve got a small collection now, something around the mark of 8 helmets. I only wear two at this point because all the others have fallen far short of my standards as I’ve grown as a rider. I don’t want a helmet that is going vibrate on my head in excess of 80mph like adventure helmets, not one like turtle shells where there’s crazy lift on it over 70mph if the fit or make isn’t perfect, or one that simply doesn’t fit the shape of my head. In all honesty, I don’t even want the coolest helmet I’ve seen, the Icon Variant because I don’t want a helmet that catches unexpected drafts and tries to rip my head off when I get in the range of a buck-twenty, much less higher speeds. I want something that will serve my purpose. It keeps my head in its beautiful shape, doesn’t allow any damage to this pretty face, and if it happens to give me a rear facing camera and HUD, then so be it. I’m honest about my gear because it’s about safety out there. I don’t care what anyone else says about looking cool, or how it’s supposed to be done. I want to enjoy myself, and if the conditions allow it I’ll have my fun, but if it’s the situation where I need to be super alert and cautious, something that happens occasionally, then I want every advantage I can find. I’ll give you the low-down and not just be a fluffer for a company who seems to have created the perfect helmet. If it’s garbage I’ll make sure you know. If it’s for casual riders, canyon carvers, speed freaks, or just belongs on a shelf to take to bike night only as a cool trophy, then I’ll be the first to say it.
But you know what, you already know that about me. Chances are you’ll never see me in this thing because the price will ridiculous and I’m fond of my kidneys and refuse to sell them because whiskey is one of my best friends. But you know, if the guys at Skully Helmets do make the mistake of letting me try out a beta helmet I’ll be sure to rub it in your face, make some videos of me geeking out over how awesome the tech is, but after the initial fun of the new toy goes away I’ll try my best to break it just like I do all my gear, because we all know nosquidding.com says it best “Dress for the slide, not the ride.” And if it can’t protect us from the slide we don’t want it. This face is far too pretty for road rash.