Smart bike gear: Lumos bike helmet review
I have been riding bikes longer than using computers. I have been riding the same recumbent vehicle for over 30 years. However, it was not until the announcement of the Lumos Bicycle Helmet ($ 179.99) I’ve been so interested in a bicycle accessory for a long time. This helmet combines bike safety with smart lighting to inform those around you of your direction and your speed intentions. Read on to find out if this high-tech helmet was worth the wait.
Being the tech enthusiast that I am, I once sewed LED strips onto the left and right sleeves of an old jacket and connected them to an Arduino, a battery, and a toggle switch. By manually toggling the switch left or right, the respective LED strip will flash, indicating the direction in which it was intended to rotate. That fix lasted for a few weeks until warmer weather forced me to take off my jacket. Eventually I restocked the parts for another project, but secretly hoped that a talented entrepreneur would one day turn my stunt into a solid commercial product. That day has come.
The talented designers and engineers at Lumen Labs did better by combining the LED strip turn signal concept into a helmet that would be worn regardless of weather and outside temperature conditions. They also made a turn signal trigger that could be activated via a wireless left / right toggle button or (better yet) via an Apple Watch gesture. This last solution makes it much easier and less worrying (since the wireless lever has to be attached to the bike using elastic bands, it occasionally has to be recharged with the custom USB charging cable and lost or stolen while the bike is running) . locked would render the turn signals useless). I’m always wearing my Apple Watch, and the use of simple gestures that can be customized to your turn signal activation preferences makes it much easier to activate the illumination of the Lumos helmet’s built-in turn signals. The gesture pairing and training process is simple and fast, as this video clearly demonstrates. While you might have created the traditional left and right hand gesture triggers, riding in a reclined chair can sometimes make exaggerated arm movements difficult. Instead, I customized my triggers to activate the left turn signal when I lay my wrist, and the right turn triggered when I lay my wrist pronated in my lap. A flick of the wrist turns off any of the signals.
Lumen Labs has also provided an app that can be used to guide you through this simple gesture setup, as well as track and sync fitness data with Apple Health or Strata. It is also used to update the built-in firmware of the helmet. What I really like about the app is its ability to automatically start a trip data capture as soon as the helmet is turned on (by pressing a button on the back of the helmet).
In addition to the LED strips (containing a total of 48 individual LEDs throughout the helmet), the battery, and circuitry to control lighting, the helmet also contains an accelerometer that activates all of the headset’s taillights when braking (as described above). shown in this quick video clip), further alerting other nearby travelers that the head and body under the helmet are coming to a halt. Even with all of these smart electronics built in, the Lumos helmet maintains its CPSC, ASTM F1147 and EN1078 international safety certification to keep the rider’s head protected.
Using the included custom USB to charging connector cable, the built-in 800mAh battery takes about two hours to charge for up to three hours of constant use, and can last a few hours longer if the LEDs are flashing rather than staying in a solid state, always- In mode. The helmet color is available in white, black or blue, but only in the standard adult size (head circumference 54-62 centimeters) at this time.
If you want to see the Lumos helmet in action, check out this Youtube Video. I can attest that the commercial is not an exaggeration; this helmet is the real deal. If you are an iPhone and Apple Watch user and avid cyclist, the Lumos helmet may be the smartest investment you can make to improve the safety of your bike.