Protect Your Smarts, Build a Smart Motorcycle Helmet

Gadget Freaks Matt Kopper, Karl Akerberg, and Valerie Cochrane show you how to improve upon the typical motorcycle helmet design with some additional smart safety features and touchscreen controls

Wearing a motorcycle helmet is a great idea. But a helmet could be so much more. Matt Kopper, Karl Akerberg, and Valerie Cochrane, three students at Colorado State have improved on the typical motorcycle helmet design with a handful of 'smart' features.

To allow better airflow to the wearer the helmet incorporates an LED touchscreen, mounted in the chin, that is connected to two servomotors that allow the wear to control the visor. The screen can also be used to display road maps.

The team also added two additional safety features. The first is a blindspot detection system. This includes two ultrasonic sensors that communicate with two buzzers and two small LED lights, located on the right and left side of the helmet. The ultra sonic sensors are programmed to detect an object in the right or left blind spot. If something is detected in its range (lets say on the right side) then the right ear buzzer will sound along with the light in the lower right of the users peripheral vision lighting up; same goes for the left side.

The other safety feature is an ambient light detection system, where a photoresistor is fixed on the top of the helmet, which corresponds to light or dark. If it detects no light (darkness) four LED lights mounted on the rear of the helmet light up. This allows for riders to be more visible during the night or even on cloudy days.

An Arduino Mega is used to control the touchscreen while a PIC 16F88 is used for the other components on the helmet. Power for the entire device includes eight AA batteries and a small handheld power source.


PLEASE NOTE: This helmet is a prototype project and should not be used on the road or in any live traffic conditions.

Download the Arduino Mega source code

Download the PIC source code

Scroll through for Part List, followed by Build Instructions.

Parts List

Part Vendor Quantity
Fly Racing Helmet   1
Arduino Mega - OSOYOO MEGA2560 R3 Control Board ATMEGA2560-16AU
For Arduino Compatible w/ USB cable
(Digi-Key Part #: A000067) 1
USB Cable (Digi-Key Part #: 321010008-ND) 1
Arduino Mega LCD Shield - Uxcell a 14121800ux0787
TFT Mega Touch LCD Shield Expansion Board 3.2”
Amazon 1
Connecting Pin wires (Digi-Key Part #: 110990029-ND)
(Digi-Key Part #: 110990049-ND)
120pcs x2
LCD Touch Screen - 3.2” TFT Touch Panel LCD Display
powerful extension Module PCB Adapter 65k
Amazon  1
Hitec HS-65MG+ Micro Servo HobbyTown USA  2
Ultrasonic Sensor - Kuman 2pcs Hc-sr04 Ultrasonic Distance
Measuring Sensor Module for Arduino Mega
Amazon  2
Portable Battery 5V - Blackweb portable battery for smartphone Wal-Mart 1
Photoresistor - Arduino Starter Kit CSU mechatronics lab kit 1
0.1 µF Capacitor CSU mechatronics lab kit 1
330 Ω Resistor CSU mechatronics lab kit 6
1 KΩ Resistor CSU mechatronics lab kit 2
6v Battery Pack (4 AAA Batteries) Wal-Mart 3
0.1 µF Capacitor CSU mechatronics lab kit 1
PIC 16F88 CSU mechatronics lab kit 1
LED lights  CSU mechatronics lab kit 2
Buzzer - Arduino Starter Kit CSU


So how does a guy go about beta testing this prototype? I put some serious mileage down on my sportbike (daily) and I ride through various times, climes, and states.

Although it is called out in the article as not for road use, the headline implies that you should do this for real. Seriously bad idea, all those holes in the helmet would seriously compromise its structural integrity, not to mention the additional weight, especially of the batteries, and the difficulty in making them secure in the case of an accident. Not pouring hot water in the idea, it's great for a student project and definitely worth investigating further.

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