Solar power could make your next road or mountain bike helmet that much smarter.
POC is innovating beyond traditional safety structure with its latest helmet technology venture.
The cycle safety brand is partnering with another Swedish company, Exeger, to engineer helmets which convert solar radiation to electricity.
As a design, this new joint-venture is part of POC’s ‘whole helmet’ product development philosophy, which challenges the traditional notion that a mountain bike helmet can only be a safety device.
POC wants to make the helmet a more integrated part of powering your ride. Designers have recognised that a helmet is one part of the rider and bike, which has the most stable surface area for solar power.
With a rider seated, there is very little frame surface which can accommodate solar generation. You cast a shadow on most of the frame, not to mention moisture dripping onto the top tube. Trail debris, dust and mud can cake the frame too, reducing solar-energy capture.
The exterior of a helmet’s structure is far superior for solar absorption, as it has a spherical shape and is unlikely to be coated in dust or mud.
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POC’s designers want to use Exeger’s flexible solar radiation technology. It has developed a special carbon positive material, which can be shaped in a multitude of ways and still retain its solar harvesting attributes. That makes the Exeger solar technology ideal for integration into a shape with curvature, such as a helmet.
The potential of integrating Exeger’s flexible solar technology with POC’s helmet structure could see headphones and navigation devices, directly powered by the helmet.
Integrated helmets lights, especially flashing LEDs to make riders more visible, is another potential innovation made possible the Exeger’s flexible solar power system.
A future of Smart helmets, which have their own power-generating ability, will allow a multitude of advanced safety features, using real-time location sensors and emergency signalling ability.
POC has already made a helmet which can store emergency medical data, accessible by NFC technology. The potential of having its own solar power source, to enhance the digital signalling of a rider in a distress, could be one of the many benefits to result from POC and Exeger’s cooperation.