First Look: Bike HUD – Motorcycle Helmet Heads-Up Display

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Motorcycle HUD

A British company is set to launch an innovative motorcycle helmet heads-up display system, similar to Google’s Glass technology, that will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.

Motorcycle Information System Technologies (MIST) has spent the past three years developing an in-helmet dashboard display unit that will be unveiled at the forthcoming NEC Motorcycle Show (November 23 – December 1) in Birmingham, England.

FirBike HUD – Motorcycle Helmet Heads-Up Display
First Look: Bike HUD – Motorcycle Helmet Heads-Up Display

Called the Bike HUD (heads-up display) it fits inside any motorcycle crash helmet and consists of a small screen that displays a motorcycle’s speed, engine revs, gear and time. Unlike other systems that are in development or already available, you do not need to buy it already installed in a helmet but can switch Bike HUD between helmets of your choosing. MIST anticipates that Bike HUD will retail around $480 – $560 when it goes on sale in the U.S.

Bike HUD
Bike HUD mounts a small screen inside your helmet. This is visible in your peripheral vision, but is said not to obscure sight.

“We have spent a lot of time and money researching the technology and usability of Bike HUD,” explained Dave Vout, Managing Director of MIST. “One thing that was apparent when we started out three years ago is that there are systems already available with similar technology, but you have to buy the whole package including a helmet.

“With our system you only need the hardware and computer and can fit it to whichever helmet you choose. At the moment, it can be used on any full-face motorcycle helmet. But by the end of next year we will release Bike HUD for open face helmets too.”

First Look: Bike HUD
Bike HUD in Road Mode

Bike HUD consist of three parts; the display, which is fixed inside the helmet and is mounted below either the right or left cheek and is visible in the bottom corner of a helmet’s visor.

“We looked at projecting the information onto the inside of a visor but there are some drawbacks to this. In bright sunlight you can’t read it, which why we have opted for a small display screen, “ said Vout. “There’s a flexible brace for the HUD that fits inside a helmet and the display is mounted in such a way that the rider looks over the top of it so they keep their head up and their eyes on the road ahead.”

Bike Heads Up Display
Bike HUD collects its information from an on-board computer and GPS unit.

Bike HUD is connected from the helmet via a single cable to an onboard computer and GPS unit, fitted under the seat of a motorcycle. A toggle switch, which can be used with motorcycle gloves, is mounted on a bike’s handlebars and allows a rider to scroll between the information pages that they want displayed.

“The HUD’s computer is about the size of a cell phone,” explained Vout. “It’s straight forward to install on a bike and you don’t need to be an expert technician to mount it and it will work with any motorcycle’s electrical system.

First Look: Bike HUD
Bike HUD – Motorcycle Helmet Heads-Up Display

“We opted to use GPS on the HUD, as like other heads-up that use cell phone technology which updates once every second, GPS does this five to ten times a second and is more accurate.”

At the moment the GPS element of HUD is only for monitoring vehicle speed but MIST plans to roll out a full GPS mapping system by the end of 2014 that will provide regular map information on the in-helmet display screen too.

HUD currently has three riding modes to choose from including commuting, touring and track days. Commuting mode will show gear selection, indicators, speed and revs, while touring mode will add gas mileage and range. In track day mode it will be possible to see instantly your lap times and to mark certain points on a circuit to compare your speed and time. It is similar to computer telemetry used in race cars and the information can be downloaded from the HUD computer afterwards to study lap times and cornering speeds.

Bike HUD
Bike HUD in Track Mode

“We wanted to make Bike HUD as simple for the operator to use as possible, said Vout. “For example, when turning and you forget to cancel the turn signals, the speed display will flash until you turn them off.”

“You can also choose different background colors for the bike’s speed. So, if you’re in a 35 mph speed restriction zone it will be white, but it will then change to blue from 35-45 mph and so on.

Bike HUD - Front View
Bike HUD – Front View

“That way you just need to glance out of the corner of your eye at the display to know how fast you are going by checking the color,” said Vout. “It’s the same for the engine revs, which relies on a single horizontal bar. You can choose a color for normal running but over certain speeds the bar will change to a different color. This means you can keep your attention on the road and only monitor the display with your peripheral vision.”

Bike HUD will be shown to the public for the first time at the NEC Motorcycle Show at the end of this month in the UK and will go on sale immediately afterwards. For further information about Bike HUD and final U.S. prices and shipping costs visit the company’s website.

Related Links:
Fit It To One Of These: The Best Street Motorcycle Helmets Under $800
Best Helmet Going: Shoei RF-1200 Review
More Safety: 10 Common Motorcycle Accidents And How To Avoid Them

  • stephen

    having a cable connected to the bike would be annoying surely – why not just make it NFC or blue tooth

    • Dave – Bike Systems

      Hi Stephen,
      Do you ride listening to music? The cable is no different than using earbud speakers for your music, GPS audio. In fact you can use the audio built into Bike HUD to route your music, cell phone AND GPS instructions all at once. The system will fade-in/ out the rel device along with its own audio warning. Without some kind of HUB unit like ours then you can only listen to one thing at a time.
      We use a cable for a number of reasons…..
      1. Batteries with sufficient life longer than 4 hours or so are heavy and add to the overall weight of the helmet. Check out our web site to see what happens to a light helmet with a head inside it. Now think what’s happening to your neck! Do you REALLY want to add extra weight in the form of battery packs to that when there’s all that power available between your legs??
      2. Speed. Our GPS is updating at 5 – 10 times a second NOT once/ sec as your cell phone telemetry. Pretty heavy for blue tooth to support.
      3. We have many other accessories we are working on that now we have a power source will make life so much easier for a rider.

      • stephen

        Sorry to be debbie downer, but portability and ease of use are then number one things on my list when looking at new tech. I just feel like you are limiting me. and dont get me wrong this sort of tech is awesome!

        Im not concerned with a wire connecting me to my phone, i just dont want a cable connecting me to some thing im not taking with me; namely my bike – what happens if you forget you have a cable? will it snap and break my new expensive hud unit?

        the technology exists with small batteries, see blue tooth headsets http://senabluetooth.com/product/intercoms/smh10/ – this thing has an incredibly light battery and has 12hr talk time. I assume your hud will draw more on power but still.

        having the option to have it cabled or powered from battery would be amazing – cabled for long trips and battery powered for the daily commute. 4hrs would last me almost 2 weeks with no charge.

        you want this thing to be amazing? make an app. that integrates my mapping software, music, etc. let my phone do all the work, i already have one of those and its gonna be much more powerful than your unit. add the unit to connect to that via BT and you got yourself a portable low powerdraw unit that can sit at the bottom of my field of view that is light and wont add extra cables all over the place.

        just my thoughts

        cheers

        • Dave – Bike Systems

          Hi Stephen,
          Great feedback. Really appreciate you taking the time and patience to share your thoughts – Thanks and point noted re the cables.
          Just to make you aware – Two things…….. Our cable is a single push fit connector. If you forget to unplug it – it simply pulls out with NO damage to you, your bike or it. We’ve already got 1000′s of miles on it to prove it.

          Our centralised HUB computer is already capable of linking all your devices together to channel your phone, music and dedicated GPS through a central sound system. As soon as we have the core product out we’ll be providing an add-on that will also allow you to make/ answer calls and tap into your phone for mapping – though we’ll do it in a way that is acceptable to many emerging traffic laws that provide you with turn directions.
          Correct me if I wrong but with Bike HUD you’ll get all you want functionality-wise……. Just that damn wire :)

      • BlisteringlyObvious

        Dave
        Honestly does your reply change the fact that having a cable connected between you and the bike will be annoying at times?

        • Dave – Bike Systems

          Hi BlisteringlyObvious,
          Of course cables can be annoying at times – but so can not remembering to charge that spare battery pack on a system that’s halfway through its current battery that only lasts three hours in the first place and each special battery costs a fortune – as does the specialist charger – so you only have one and therefore can only charge one battery at a time that takes at least a couple of hours to charge which means you need to prepare WELL in advance for that Sunday am Canyon ride out!

          Something that you possibly don’t appreciate is that Bike HUD along with its competitors – Nuviz, Skully, LiveMap and Reevu (when they come out) – are game changers. After you’ve logged a couple of thousand miles on a HUD you REALLY don’t want to ride without one. It’s a bit like losing the remote on your TV and/ or entertainment centre. We at Bike Systems probably have more miles on motorcycle HUD’s than anyone else right now (Over twelve months and thousands of miles). Everyone of us hates the idea of riding a bike without one now.

          Ultimately it’ll be your choice……. Use a Bike HUD that works EVERY time with its ‘occasional’ wire annoyance BUT NO worries about charging batteries the night before or taking the long way home without having to worry about whether your navigation system is going to die on you and …… Ooops the batteries are specials so no calling into a nearby 7-11 to get a couple of spares :)

          In a couple of months we’ll have both GPS and speed camera locators programmed into Bike HUD. Two new reasons for the system to keep running whenever you ride :)

          • BlisteringlyObvious

            Dave, honestly people don’t really need any of these systems.

    • fromwork789

      boom roasted.

  • thatdoode

    Check out California based skully as well!
    http://www.skullyhelmets.com

  • Jason Kritter

    RideApart needs to get their hands on one of these for review:
    http://www.skullyhelmets.com/

    @thatdoode – exactly!

  • Otter

    Looks like the put 3 years of development into a product which will become obsolete in the next few years. Sure, it’s versatile in that it can be attached to any helmet and is cheaper than the fully HUD integrated helmets which will begin hitting the shelves soon (SKULLY). However, it does not project the information onto your shield, rather uses a bulky looking screen. In addition, it doesn’t use GPS for directions and instead uses it to monitor speed and display revs, both of which I can find by simply glancing down. The only product I see lasting in the HUD helmet market is one that integrates with your smartphone, utilizing its personal features with which the user is familiar to provide the rider with everything they could need.

    • Dave – Bike Systems

      Hi Otter,
      Please check out my rather long-winded reply on how we are future-proofing our products and ensuring your investment with us is a long-term solution.

  • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

    There is what I would consider a dire need for a true HUD in the motorcycle accessories market. Why are the new products so weak in this category? I know the tech is bulky, but why can’t we get something similar to thecar HUDS coming out? BBMW, Mercedes and others have a HUD that projects an image on the windshield while creating the illusion that the image is 5 feet in front of the car. It’s brilliant. What do we get? Screens. Awesome.

    • Generic42

      They also have dashboards in which they can mount this technology. You figure out how to stuff an LCD display and computer in your chin bar so it can be reflected onto your visor and you’ll be a rich man.

    • Dave – Bike Systems

      Looks great doesn’t it. Wonder how/ if it works if you hold it up to the sun and put an optical system in place so’s you can see it a few inches from your eye.

      • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

        I still have gauges for those circumstances.

  • Rob

    That screen looks like it cuts out a good chunk of your view. When I think of hud, I think of something I can look through to see the road ahead. I’ll wait around for the other company out there that’s currently developing a unit that’s gps based and mounts on the outside of the helmet and uses a true HUD display.

    • stephen

      get something like one of these for the display so its not a projection and you can still see through it.

      there are just better engineering answers to these problems

  • metric_G

    All I need is a switchable 4x scope, so I can see if that “smudge” on the side of the road a half mile down is a CHP cuiser or just a funny shadow.

  • Randy Singer

    Heads up displays may already be illegal…at least in California and a few other states. See:

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/30/tech/mobile/google-glass-driving-ticket/

  • Dave – Bike Systems

    Hi All,

    Many thanks for your comments. I’m Dave – the fat guy
    from England in the pics and videos responsible for Bike HUD and the product
    range Bike Systems. Hope you will appreciate some feedback on your comments
    thus far.

    As with any tech buy today – its superseded tomorrow. We
    know that having been involved in technology for the last 25 years. Buying into
    Bike Systems also means future-proofing. We are doing this in two ways:-

    1. All
    our software updates are included in the initial purchase price of the product.
    For example in a couple of months you’ll be able to:-

    a. Plug your phone into the system and use it to
    make calls if you wish

    b. Put
    a USB memory stick full of music and play it through the system.

    c. Configure
    the system to display exactly what you want and position it anywhere you want.

    All through the free software
    updates as we turn on more of the system for you.

    2. Anyone
    buying into Bike HUD now means a VERY substantial trade in to its replacement
    products in the future. To be clear our buy-back policy means you’ll buy
    subsequent updates of hardware for little more than the price it costs us.

    Bike HUD is very much a product of form following
    function. It is what it is due to a significant number of reasons that clearly
    defined an overall framework that I’ll summarise as follows:-

    1. We
    felt it had to be an add-on product for helmets and bikes. In the UK we’d no
    more dream of telling a fellow biker to trash his Shoei, Arai, AGV, Stealth,
    Bell, Shark or Schuberth than tell our other halves not to buy Jimmy Choo shoes
    or Channel perfume. Clearly then it needs to fit to a range of helmet makes and
    styles. When it goes on sale Bike HUD will fit ANY full face helmet and around
    75% of flip front helmets. Within six months it will fit ALL flip front and
    open face helmets.

    2. Bike
    HUD had to fit INSIDE the helmet and visor. Helmet manufacturers spend a small
    fortune improving aerodynamics. Placing anything on the outside of the helmet
    WILL introduce wind noise and buffeting however well the design attempts to
    control airflow.

    3. Bike
    HUD is is designed to sell around the world therefore:-

    1. Displays mph, kph and can be flipped from one
    to another at the press of a button.

    2. Worn to the left or right.

    4. Configurable.
    We are simple ‘blokes from England’ We don’t really know if someone who rides
    canyon roads in Northern California rides different from us. Therefore we
    developed a system that can be configured to display specific information for a
    rider style considering local restrictions.

    5. The
    system needed to be fast. Cell phone mapping and speed displays update around
    once a second. This is simply not fast enough. Here in England we ride bikes
    pretty fast. Bike HUD updates speed etc 7 to 10 times a second and then
    interpolates to provide 1/100 second accuracy. Why THAT’s important is on
    deceleration/ acceleration and gear indication.

    6. Safety.
    So much has been put into safety as a base thought and concept. Just a
    few……

    1. We
    used two reports to understand motorcycle safety. One of those was the US Hurt
    Report which although somewhat old now is still the definitive document for
    motorcycle accident analysis. Three items stood out in that report.

    i.
    The first was that experienced riders were
    significantly absent from the accident statistics. Bike HUD encourages the
    rider to look ahead and like professional riders move the head in the direction
    of travel without having to reference back to the bike instrumentation since important
    data ALWAYS follows the riders eye view

    ii.
    The second was that most accidents occurred
    within 45 degrees of the riders forward vision. No surprise then that Bike HUD
    is designed to work primarily in your peripheral field of view. Big blocks of
    colour and I mean BIG. Our speed text alone is the equivalent of reading a
    conventional speedo with 14″ high text.

    iii.
    A rider typically has just two seconds to react
    and avoid an accident. By encouraging
    the rider to look up and forward continuously we increase the opportunity for
    the rider to understand the context of the emerging situation ahead. For
    example the turn of the head of a driver-parent to talk to a child in the back
    might suggest that driver has not seen the oncoming motorcycle and pull out. a
    rider seeing this might be in a better position to anticipate.

    2. Clearly
    Bike HUD should not cause injury in the event of an accident. We’ve spent a lot
    of time designing a mount that stays in place in the event of an accident. Then
    we had an independent laboratory test it for us. UK’s TRL ( Equivalent of US’
    DoT testing) You can see the results on our web site – http://www.bike-hud.com

    7. Price.
    At the time of conceptual design the whole world was in the midst of a
    recession. Our own market research defined a price point that most bikers would
    deem as acceptable. The product you see today reflects that price expectation.

    8. Simplicity
    - It was developed by the English for the English so it had to be REAL easy to
    use.

    Hope this helps understand our product

  • Khali

    Google Glass looks like a more viable option, with video recording, Smartphone integration, gps and voice orders. And it can be used off the motorcycle too.

    Maybe someone will make a bluetooth module that sends your motorcycle computer info to Android devices, such as Glass.

    • Dave – Bike Systems

      It seems like products such as Google Glass might be made illegal for
      driving as they potentially have the option to read texts, watch movies
      etc.True HUD’s should be exempt from this as they display pertinent data for the vehicle. the link – http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/30/…provided by Randy Singer below clearly states this for Cal law in consideration with immediate turn instructions for GPS etc.

      • Khali

        Oh, I see. Interesting.

  • MichaelEhrgott

    Made my morning. Exactly how I felt riding in today too.

  • Cory McNair

    In 1998 Honda’s FN-1 1500cc V4 Concept bike was supposed to come with a heads-up display inside the helmet. There were concerns that the concept would force people into wearing only the helmet that came with the bike.
    http://graphic-server.com/cgi-bin/oldmags.cgi?mid/CWLD199802.JPG

    • Dave – Bike Systems

      Bike HUD fits to an full face helmet that allows you the option of using whatever helmet your wish

  • http://silent7.com silent7

    Personally I would rather have something that projects on the visor from inside the helmet and not a blocked out area like this. Its seems very rudimentary considering the options on the horizon, Google Glass & Skully.

    The size, weird articulated arm connection, the vertical bar and the wired connection just seems to be a step backwards. Not sure of the weight but even an few extra ounces on one side after a long enough ride that you need GPS can lead to a sore neck.

  • LS650

    I can see having a GPS that can be quickly turned off/on with voice commands – but I can’t see it being particularly affordable. Maybe 10 years down the road after it becomes common-place and cheaper.

    • Dave – Bike Systems

      It’s not as expensive as you think – and with our buy-back option means that Bike HUD update will always be affordable

      • LS650

        Dave, I realize that you have to sell your product in the best possible light, but for some of us $500+ on top of the cost of your regular helmet is not a trivial sum. I will spend that kind of money on riding gear, but it’s hard for me to justify it for a non-essential item.

        • Dave – Bike Systems

          Good Point – Which is why we are proposing that after an initial layout as the system is improved it grows with you. Clearly the accessories will be add-ons BUT the software that drives them as well as the system improvements are all included in the base purchase cost. Put that with our guaranteed buy-back option and the fact that as an add-on you don’t have to replace your tech every two – five yours or if you are unfortunate to have an accident we want you to come to see Bike HUD as an investment that will be with you for an awfully long time.

        • Dave – Bike Systems

          FYI – We are shipping the product to US and Canada for $399 US. We listened to you and made Bike HUD the most affordable we could even though its the only HUD for motorcycles you can buy anywhere.
          In addition we’ll be adding GPS navigation plus speed camera locators to make it the product you simply cannot afford to be without.

  • stopeject

    Intriguing product for a techno geek like me. How will it know things like RPM or gear, especially on CAN Bus bikes (BMW)?

    • Dave – Bike Systems

      Right now we don’t interface with CAN BUS (Though we will be doing in an update latter half of 2013). The reason is simply CAN BUS was introduced in the US late 90′s. We wanted Bike HUD to be a product that can be used on ANY bike.
      Revs are picked up by a sensor wire and turn signals by tapping into the wires. Other than that the system, bike-mounted HUB computer works the rest out for you.

  • Adan Ova

    That’s not really a HUD.

  • ThinkingInImages

    HUD sounds like a great idea. I’m not interested in the media/communications center aspects. I’d want GPS, road conditions/weather, rear view, speed, RPM, even fuel level.

    • Dave – Bike Systems

      Hi ThinkingInImages,
      Our product as launched and now available to purchase will provide you with Speed, engine revs, gear, indicator warning and various countdown range. Not that you sound interested but you can also plug in your mp3 player too.
      In a few months we’ll be adding in GPS navigation and Speed Camera location along with cell phone integration via Bluetooth OR USB connection to a cradle on your bike.
      What this all means is that you’ll have audio visual feedback into your helmet of your bike’s systems, navigation AND communication fully synchronised and faded automatically. Not even our competitors can offer all that!!