Electrifying Motorcycle Helmet Innovation Since the dawn of protective head-wear, the focus has been on increasing crash protection, improving aerodynamics, and lightening the weight of helmets. Akuma Helmets, based in San Antonio, Texas, has done something fresh with helmets-they have electrified them.
Akuma’s Integrated Power System (I.P.S.) is a custom 1.3-oz rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery and wiring system that is integrated into each helmet’s shell. The introduction of a power supply allows Akuma, led by inventor and developer Kerry Harris, to incorporate ground-breaking features that increase the safety of the rider, as well as improve the utility of the helmet. Lighting, of course, comes to mind immediately. A built-in LED near the rider’s temple allows him to read a map, or inspect the motorcycle, in low- or no-light conditions-something you truly cannot appreciate until you try it. In the rear, LEDs light up the helmet (either blinking, or steady), increasing the rider’s visibility and safety at night. Future models will further tap the power of electricity- larger backlit shell areas advance the helmets’ night profi les, and add-ons will include Bluetooth accessories, bike-to-bike communication, and GPS. Not content with its electrical prowess, the Akuma helmets are also striking in their graphic treatments (admirers of our military will be particularly pleased by the selection), and dramatic exterior shell shapes. The Aegis visor utilizes a S.H.I.E.L.D. coating that has an impregnated anti-fogging treatment, an anti-scratch coating, UV protection, plus the ability to actively repel water, oil and solid debris. If Akuma helmets weren’t also comfortable for all-day rides, the technological progress would have been squandered. That is not the case, and Akuma Helmets richly deserves our Achievement in Design Award. ULTIMATE MOTORCYCLING FEBRUARY / MARCH 2009 Studio Photography by Cordero Studios
Action Photography by Tom Riles