Coros Wearables has announced the launch of LINX, which is billed as the first smart cycling helmet that uses bone conduction technology in lieu of ear buds. According to the company, this lets riders ‘safely listen to their music, receive calls, communicate with other bikers and more with full awareness of cars and their immediate surroundings.’ The LINX smart helmet is now available for pre-order via Kickstarter.
At the time of writing, with 42 days to go, the LINX helmet had more than doubled its Kickstarter funding target of US$50,000. The LINX smart helmet is available for pre-order on Kickstarter for US$100 for early-birds based on an MSRP of US$199.99. The product will ship to backers in autumn/fall 2016.
“LINX is a smart cycling helmet for people who want to enjoy key features of their phone while cycling, all without the hassles of ear buds, wires, and distractions,” said Coros president and co-founder Chuck Frizelle. “Our unique approach to precision audio is akin to today’s must-haves in your car; seamless, wireless access to your personal music and calls without distraction so you can focus on the road.”
The LINX smart cycling helmet uses bone conduction technology placed on the helmet straps, which rests on the rider’s cheekbones and ‘allows the rider to hear without safety issues caused by using ear buds’. Bone conduction sends small vibrations directly to the inner ear and bypasses the ear canal and eardrum, ‘leaving the ear completely open and aware of external noises such as cars or conversations with fellow riders’.
The LINX helmet also has a wind-resistant microphone near the forehead for two-way communications and offers emergency notifications for high impact crashes. In addition, LINX ships with a wireless smart remote so the rider can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the bars while controlling their media and calls with the tap of a button.
Music, data alerts, phone calls, GPS navigation and more connect to the LINX helmet from the rider’s smart phone to the Coros app via Bluetooth 4.0.
Coros tested the pre-release LINX smart helmet during the Seattle to Portland (STP) ride, one of the largest US bike events with 10,000 cyclists. Throughout the 200 mile journey, riders listened to music to stay inspired and receive periodic ride updates via calls.
“It was amazing to be able to listen to music with my ears completely open to automobiles, other bikers, and conversations with teammates,” said Mike Gill-More, a one-day STP Coros rider. “I was impressed to hear how well bone conduction audio works and how comfortable it was resting on my cheek for 200 miles.”
- RideAware open-ear bone conduction audio and a high quality microphone allows riders to connect the LINX helmet to their smartphone for music, calls, voice navigation and voice data, and communicate with other LINX riders. Two-way audio is supported with a wind resistant microphone.
- The LINX smart cycling helmet includes an emergency alert system that is triggered when the G-sensor senses significant impact, which sends an alert with GPS notification to a designated loved one. The helmet is Consumer Product Safety Commission certified in the US and certified in Europe and Australia/New Zealand.
- The LINX helmet offers a sleek high-speed low-drag aerodynamic road cycling design that is well ventilated to stay cool for long rides. LINX includes comfortable foam strip lining and a ratchet fitting system for extended wear across various head sizes and shapes. The all-weather helmet is rain, water, splash, and sweat resistant.
- The Smart Remote allows for volume control and aims to make it easy to quickly track forward, pause or play, and take calls. The Smart Remote has a flexible mounting system to affix to all types of handlebars and the buttons are ‘easy to find by feel so riders can keep their eyes on the road’.
- Riders can download the iOS or Android app to manage GPS ride details, stats, routes, voice navigation and voice data.