Most R&D is shrouded in mystery and skullduggery—we often don’t see a product until it is finished and fully packaged. In the case of the Nuviz Ride:HUD head up display for motorcycle helmets, we were invited to get a look at a product that has actually yet to be made—our first look was at a 3D printout of the Ride:HUD. Regardless, the technology that Nuviz is promising with this product is truly revolutionary.
Designed to be installed on the chin guard of existing full-face motorcycle helmets—from Arai to Z1R—the Nuviz Ride:HUD combines a variety of existing technologies developed for the United States Air Force (the few organizations that can cover the costs of such advanced R&D) by Holoeye Systems and APX Labs (Nuviz is a joint venture) to bring a true head up display to the sport.
The Nuviz Ride:HUD team is made up of motorcyclists, so they were keen to build something for themselves.” We thought, ‘If we do it for helmets in the military, why not do it for helmets in the commercial realm?’” Nuviz CEO Malte Laass asked. “And who wears helmets? Motorcyclists. From a personal side, we’re very eager to introduce our capabilities to something we all enjoy doing.”
“My whole adult life has had a motorsports side to it,” Nuviz co-founder Brian Ballard, an devoted roadracer, explains. “You’re doing your hobby and you think, ‘Wouldn’t it be good if I could (blank)?’ I’ve built a lot of nifty little gadgets for motorcycles just because I had the resources. Then you think, ‘Okay that was a fun project, but it’s not a real business,’ but this is a real thing that we can do.”
The result is a small Ride:HUD helmet unit that attaches to the chin guard, and is capable of displaying a wide array of information to the rider that is relayed to the unit via Bluetooth 4.0 from your smartphone using the Nuviz Ride:Cloud app. Additionally, it will have a built in camera (still and video), along with WiFi and GPS.
The base unit is has a quad-core 1.2 GHz ARM processor for fast operation of the LCOS (liquid crystal on silicon) Microdisplay-based projection engine, and 8 GB of built-in flash memory. There’s a 9-axis full motion sensor, altimeter, thermometer, and ambient light sensor (which allows consistent display appearance).
With the main piece mounted on your right side chin guard, the display screen is visible to your lower right field of view, and is transparent so as not to block your ability to see your surrounding—a crucial safety factor. Additionally, of course, the focus point of the display is much farther away than its physical proximity, so your eye does not have to refocus away from the road.
Controlling the unit is a four-way toggled handlebar switch that uses Bluetooth to connect to the Nuviz Ride:HUD. A great deal of effort has been put into the software of the unit. Nuviz understands the importance of a simple interface that a rider can easily use while in motion—it will be far ahead of the single button controls found on the display panels of stock motorcycles. Additionally, it will be customizable.
The Nuviz Ride:CLOUD app is an integral part of the system, allowing you to setup routes, and then share them with friends, before, during and after the ride. This is also the function that allows Facebook interaction. Although tightly integrated into the Ride:HUD, Ride:CLOUD will be available to all with Apple or Android operating systems, though the functionality will be reduced.
Information available to you includes navigation, weather, telemetry, music, communications and settings. For racers, Nuviz is working into tapping into the telemetry provided on high-end sport bikes, so the rider can access it while riding, and record the information on the track for current and later use. Also, for the social, photos will be able to be sent to your Facebook account as you ride.
The final design for the Nuviz Ride:HUD is yet to be created. Issues such as aerodynamics will be fully addressed, as well as the aesthetics of the unit. Nuviz tells us the unit will be waterproof and dustproof, and will work in temperatures ranging from 5 degrees to 120 degrees F.
Not due to be released until Summer 2014 and given that we haven’t seen an operating prototype, one could be excused for accusing us of reporting on vaporware that is projected to sell for $599. However, the people behind Nuviz Ride:HUD are the real deal. They have the experience needed to produce such a sophisticated, yet accessible device. All that’s needed now is our first test—we await it anxiously.