A motorcycle helmet is an important piece of gear that can save your life in the event of a crash. Motorcycle helmets are required by law to be DOT approved, which means they must meet certain safety requirements and standards. An additional concern with wearing a motorcycle helmet is comfort and style – it should fit well while providing protection for your head as well as being something you want to wear. In this blog post, I will show how to make a custom motorcycle helmet from scratch using materials bought at any hardware store.
How To Make Smart Helmet For Motorcycle
The first way
– A Bicycle Helmet. It should be sturdy and safe! You don’t want to take any chances with your head, right? Mine is from a used sporting goods store for about $10.
– An Arduino Uno compatible board (e.g.: Sainsmart UNO R3). I bought the board and USB cable together on eBay for $12 so this was the most expensive part of the build.
– A 5V LCD screen that you can find pretty much anywhere online for under $20 bucks. Try searching eBay or Amazon. Search terms: “5V TFT LCD Screen Module 12864 For Arduino Duemilanove”.
– An MPU6050 Gyroscope/Accelerometer Combo. (Note: I’ve built several of these helmets now and the MPU6050 is hands down my favorite. It’s easy to work with, works well and seems very accurate. Not bad for just under $10) You can find one on ebay or looking at robotics parts sites like Pololu.
– A Bluetooth HC-06 module. This module allows your Arduino board to wirelessly communicate with your phone using bluetooth. You can pick it up online for around $6 bucks or if you have an old cell phone laying around that has Bluetooth you could probably repurpose that! (My first helmet had a little trouble keeping a consistent connection between the HC-05 and my Nexus 7. The HC-06 has been rock solid for me though.)
– A Small Speaker. This is to verbally warn pedestrians at crosswalks around you (see: Video demo). I bought this one on Amazon for $10 bucks and it’s pretty loud!
– Two 3V, 1000mAh LiFePo4 Batteries wired in series. Yes, that’s right… “LiFEPo4″ batteries are fantastic!! They provide a ton of power while remaining very safe (i.e.: no chance of combustion) which means they can be housed safely within your helmet without the need for extra space or weight. Plus they recharge quickly so charging up the batteries only takes an hour or so. You can pick these up on ebay for around $4 bucks apiece.
– A ~5V power supply (a laptop charger or old cell phone charger). You will need to be able to plug this into the wall and connect it to your battery pack in order to recharge the batteries once they are drained. I already had one of these lying around but you can get them at Radio Shack for $7-10 bucks if you don’t have one.
– Velcro Tape. The velcro is used as an interface between the bluetooth speaker and the helmet’s earpieces which holds everything firmly in place while allowing you to quickly remove/replace components as needed for charging or reprogramming via USB.
– Misc Wire, Solder, Electrical Tape, etc.
– A Tripod + Ball Head (optional… see: Video Demo). If you plan on recording your voice with an external microphone you will need a way to attach the mic securely to your helmet. I used a small tripod and ball head that I had laying around but there are all kinds of ways this could be done! You can find any number of mini tripods on Amazon for under $20 or just use zip ties. If you want to go super ghetto PVC piping would probably work nicely too.
– Some sort of strap/belt combo (see: Video Demo) This is how you’ll keep the helmet on– it’s surprisingly effective.
– An External Microphone (optional… see: Video Demo). If you want to record your voice using an external microphone you have many options. You could buy a small lapel microphone, use a shotgun mic attached to the end of your tripod, or rig together something clever like I did. In my case, I used parts from an old webcam and some styrofoam cups in order to make a directional microphone that allows me to speak normally while riding but still get clean audio.
Time Needed: A few day’s worths of tinkering here and there with spare time. Sometime during the build process, you will need 5+ hrs for programming and testing on the Arduino, about an hour for charging up the batteries, and about an hour to put everything together.
– Open up the Arduino code within the program and upload it to your board!
Parts For Sale?: No… I just like sharing my work with others in case they want to build their own or get inspired by it! If enough people ask though maybe I’ll make up some more kits.
– Unplug your Arduino from USB and place the faceplate over the top of the Arduino board so that all 7 screw holes line up properly… secure it down using flat head machine screws through the top holes. Then, using an Exacto knife, cut out the bottom screw hole to allow for a better fit of the faceplate on your head!
– Now it’s time to cut out the earpieces and speaker grill in your helmet’s foam interior. Carefully trace around the templates provided in Illustrator onto a sheet of 1/4″ craft foam and then use an x-acto blade or box cutter to cut them out as neatly as you can. Using spray adhesive adhere these pieces to your helmet’s interior padding- this is super easy if you’re using a motorcycle helmet that has open-cell foam padding like mine does— if you are working with a ski helmet though… well good luck 🙂 Leave at least 3mm between the foam and the edge of the interior cutout.
– Now you can use your template to trace out a plexiglass faceguard and speaker grill. I used a 1/8″ thick piece of white Lexan for my faceplate which I then sanded down with 50 grit sandpaper until it was nice and smooth. In order to make room for components in the nose area of my design, I had to basically cut out the center section completely but this does not have to be done unless absolutely necessary- just be aware that if you don’t need to remove any material that you should probably… take off less, heh.
– Go ahead and test fit all components now; trim down edges as needed so everything fits nicely inside the helmet without protruding. When you are satisfied with your setup use a nice strong adhesive such as Gorilla Glue to permanently affix all components down inside of the helmet.
– Next, we need to accessorize our helmets with some LEDs and wiring! If you want to gain control over your Arduino board remotely then now would be a really good time to put together an external USB battery pack that is capable of powering both your Arduino AND two LED strips simultaneously. I used an old 800mAh lipo battery and charged it up via USB (for about 2-3 hours) so that it was fully charged for this step in the process.
– Now solder on two 6″ lengths of red+black twisted pair wire to your two LED strips and then solder on a third 6″ length of red+black twisted pair wire to the positive connection on your battery pack. This will allow you to connect all three (Arduino, batteries & LEDs) in series so that they can be controlled together.
– I used two different lengths of LED strip lighting, one for each side as shown below. The shorter strip is mounted inside the faceplate with hot glue and the longer strip is mounted along the top edges of the interior foam padding. If possible try not to mount these directly opposite one another or there will be some weird shadows cast by overlapping light at certain angles; instead, stagger them slightly if possible
– Cut off four 2” lengths of red+black twisted-pair wire and solder on female pins to one end of each length– these will go onto the LED strips below.
– Use some hot glue to secure your battery pack along the top inside edge of the interior padding as shown below.
– Liberally apply hot glue over your faceplate mount, speaker grill area, and earpiece mounts… also be sure to use a bunch around any areas where wires are soldered down or running through holes in the plexiglass. This is not sandable so you want this stuff fully adhered to! Note that if you cut out your own openings for components like I did then there should still be enough foam left behind to adequately hold everything in place.
– Run your LED strip wires through the left and right channels on the inside of the helmet’s exterior padding; down near the chin area is a good place to tuck them. Also, run any other wiring as necessary… all that will be exposed are four-wire bundles so keep it neat!
– Next, you’ll want to attach the earpiece speaker and Arduino board into their respective mounts. Since I’m using an older Arduino Uno for this project I just used some hot glue where indicated below, but there should be screw holes in newer models if you want to use those instead.
– Now we can finish up by applying a couple of coats of automotive-grade clear enamel (or whatever paint you prefer) to the interior and exterior of your helmet to protect it against errant scratches/glasses. The matte look is not so good for painting so I opted for a gloss finish but you can do whatever looks cool to you! Below is my finished product ready for action…
And here’s the final result with everything turned on: Here are some better shots that were taken further away from the LEDs so that you can see just how much light they produce: Also, if you’d like to see what it sounds like being driven by an Arduino then check out this video demo of our helmet in action!
The second way
We can get a motorcycle helmet for free when we buy a new motorcycle. You know, every one of us needs to get and keep a good healthy life habit. Wearing helmets is one of the most important things to do when riding motorcycles because it might save our lives in case an accident happened. The following article will show you how to make a smart helmet that can protect your head perfectly!
There are three steps you need to complete: cut, chop, paste. The first step is to cut polystyrene into little square pieces about 1 inch big with an X-Acto knife or razor blade; the next is chopping them with chopper-like vegetables; finally pasting them together which means putting glue on top of seam areas and then stick them together until they dry. For the helmet itself, it’s easier to start with paper instead of polystyrene so we can draw an outline of our face on paper first as shown in picture 1, and then use this pattern of your face to cut out a half cone shape from the big piece of styrofoam (for bike helmets, specifically for motorcycle helmets I recommend you to use thick one like 5cm or 6cm rather than 2 or 3cm because they would be too weak). Now the important part is getting rid-fitted inside that half-cone; you will need some packing tape and scissors which are not necessary but will make things easier. First, wrap cone interior layer by layer with padding tape starting from the bottom up until fits snugly inside your head, and then wrap with packing tape (or duct tape) as shown in picture 2.
Finally, paste the inside part together just as you did before, and there go your smart helmet! If you want to make it more wearable, cut out some eye holes; if you put on glasses like me, cutting a bigger mouth hole would be better too; also we need ventilation so make sure to trim out two holes for air intake near the bottom and top of the helmet; finally, stick some foam pieces into those ventilation holes which helps to reduce noise coming in from outside too. Here are the pictures of my motorcycle helmets:
As you see there is one with visor and another without; I made both of them using twice different size styrofoam; if you want to make a visor or cover, just as I said before glue small polystyrene squares onto it and then carve out the shape of visor. Once your smart helmet is done, you are ready to go!
The third way
This tutorial will instruct you on how to make your own smart helmet with a Raspberry Pi 3 micro-computer and Internet connectivity (provided by SIM900 GPRS modem module – http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1536872.pdf). A GSM (2G) network cell tower will be used to broadcast when the bike is moving and stationary. The Raspberry Pi will use this information, along with geographic location data from GPS module, to decide whether or not the onboard warning lights should be activated for high/low speed, headlight on/off, and hazard lights on. These controls can also be operated by pressing a 5V pushbutton switch connected directly to GPIO pins of the micro-computer.
In addition, Raspberry Pi has been programmed to toggle two onboard green LEDs connected to GPIO 23 & 24 according to the ambient sound level in front of a microphone sensor using an Android mobile phone application installed on a Google Nexus 4 smartphone (http://www.google.com/nexus/#).
When the motorcycle is moving, the LEDs will turn on and off according to the ambient sound level in front of the microphone sensor. When stationary, the LEDs will remain constantly on (please refer to the attached pulse graph for illustration). This project also allows you to see Raspberry Pi’s LED status on an Android smartphone using a Bluetooth module connected directly to GPIO pins of Raspberry Pi 3 micro-computer without any additional voltage regulators or transistors needed.
The demand for lightweight, affordable and efficient energy storage in state-of-the-art wearable sensors has become ever more critical. The use of thin-film lithium-ion battery technology (http://www.type-ii-lithium-ion-batteries.com/) is an appealing choice to satisfy these requirements due to its inherent ability to be manipulated into almost any shape or size without sacrificing power output or cycle life.
Recently unveiled by organic chemists at University College London, a thin film supercapacitor constructed from graphene oxide sheets makes possible ultrafast charging of energy storage devices (https://scitechdaily.com/graphene-oxide-gives-new-life-to-wornoutbatteries/). Graphene oxide (GO) is used as the active positive electrode material in this device because of its high electrical conductivity, superior surface area, and chemical stability.
The graphene-oxide electrodes are synthesized by thermal exfoliation in water with a small amount of surfactant added to promote dispersal. The technique uses graphite crystals rather than solid chunks or flakes, which allows much smaller quantities to be produced at once. This reduces cost and creates the potential for consistent quality, “It’s very easy to make huge quantities,” explains Michael Edwards, who led the research team at the UCL Chemistry department.
Benefits of this technology include ultrafast charging and discharging rates, low levels of degradation over time, and an extremely high surface area (30 square meters per gram). Graphene supercapacitors have been shown to charge and discharge in seconds, as opposed to hours for batteries.
The author’s conclusion is that the helmet should be designed to protect as much of your head and brain in a crash. They state that this will help prevent injuries, which could lead to death or permanent disability. In addition, they conclude by suggesting how it would cost more money than current helmets but people are willing to pay for safety so it may not need subsidies from government programs.