New helmet unit monitors heart rate

Prototype technology removes need for heart rate straps

Israeli company LifeBEAM, who developed technology to monitor fighter pilots’ vital signs, have integrated the sensor into bike helmets to eliminate the need for chest heart rate straps, which some cyclists find uncomfortable. 

A working prototype of their 50g sensing unit, dubbed SMART, takes a heart rate reading from the user’s forehead, processes the data and transmits it to handlebar computers and watches. Because the device operates on the commonly used ANT+ protocol, it should be compatible with Garmin computers and smartphones.  

A sensor on the forehead detects heart rate and transmits data to a unit at the back. This contains a microprocessor, a 15-hour rechargeable battery and accelerometers designed to filter out movement that could give false readings.

So far, the company have partnered with Lazer to integrate the prototypes into the Belgian company’s Genesis helmet. However, they’re on a crowd-sourcing mission to secure US$50,000 to get the unit into full production.  

LifeBEAM’s other products include the Guardian, a GPS-enabled watch that monitors bloodflow, skin temperature, body movement and posture to detect life threatening situations.

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