May 28 - A tiny sensor embedded inside a bicycle helmet is being promoted as a better alternative for cyclists who want to keep an eye on their heart-rate during work-outs. According to its designers, the sensor is superior technology to conventional heart-rate monitors, which are often unwieldy and uncomfortable. Suzannah Butcher reports.
It's not unusual for cyclists to try to maximise their workouts by monitoring their heart rates, but soon they'll have access to technology used by fighter pilots to help them do it. Israeli technology firm LifeBEAM says it has developed the world's first smart cycling helmet. At the front is a lightweight sensor which can process data and transmit it to other devices. SOUNDBITE (English) ZVIKA ORRON, CO-FOUNDER OF LIFEBEAM, SAYING: "This is where it monitors the blood flow at the forehead. It's wired, integrated into the helmet itself, and there is a processing unit, very small which does all the processing and transmits all the data to any cellphone device or any bicycle computer and it just fits on over here, it looks really nice, lightweight." LifeBEAM's co-founder Zvika Orron says it's much more comfortable than the traditional monitors cyclists wear strapped to their chests. SOUNDBITE (English) ZVIKA ORRON, CO-FOUNDER OF LIFEBEAM, SAYING: "You don't need anything else, you just need to put on you helmet, wear it, and ride away. The sensing technology is very accurate. We were tested in a wide range of tests and compared to the main gold standards in the field we were proven to be very very accurate." Vice President Itai Maron says the company has a history of using similar technology within the aerospace industry. SOUNDBITE (English) ITAI MARON, VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS AND DEVELOPMENT AT LIFEBEAM, SAYING: "We develop systems for airspace and aeronautic solutions and we just decided we can take this technology and we can tweak it in order to fit the consumer market and actually to the cycling domain, which we're very close to, in order to provide a real benefit to bikers." Cyclists keen to test the helmet for themselves can secure one of the first available by pledging 149 US dollars on crowd-sourcing website Indiegogo. LifeBEAM says the helmets should be available by the end September.