Apple now sells a smart bike helmet with an LED turn signal
Bike commuters do a lot to make drivers notice them.
They slap reflectors on their clothes, install lights on their bikes, and put on neon yellow vests. Now they can use turn signals like a car.
Apple started selling Lumos Matrix helmets in its stores and online Wednesday. They come in two colors — white and black — and retail for $249.95.
The Lumos Matrix reimagines the function of helmets for today’s electric scooter and bike riders, co-founder and CEO Eu-wen Ding says.
“Design is really about solving human problems, but no one is really looking at [the commuters’] problems,” Ding says. “What the traditional guys are trying to solve is, ‘How can we make this super lightweight? How can we make this super aerodynamic?’ We are asking different questions: ‘How can we make a helmet that has a lot of lights, that can be seen from far away, and that drivers can recognize?’”
In addition to a bright front light, the helmet has a 7×11 dot-matrix, animated LED panel on its rear to signal turns and brakes to drivers — an upgrade from the static display of Lumo’s previous helmets. It also has a new sleek, streamlined design.
Bikers can activate the lights with a simple touchpad that can be attached to their bike handlebars or an Apple Watch app that automatically detects hand signals. A mobile app allows users to adjust the lights’ brightness and flash frequency; it even offers users a new option to customize the animation displayed on the rear panel.
Overall, there were daily bike commuters and taken on shared bikes and scooters last year in the U.S. alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
At the heart of the Lumos Matrix, Ding says, is the vision of a helmet that anticipates the needs of our contemporary urban landscape.
“Helmets have been around for a very long time, but they haven’t really changed fundamentally in 20, 30 years,” Ding says. “We want to come up with ideas that embody the next-generation helmet. The helmet has done a great job of being a form of protection; we’re trying to add to that by saying it’s not just protection but also prevention.”