While riding at highway speeds, the air that gets through the helmet’s ventilation channel generates a lot of noise that could not only distract riders, but even pose a threat to their health.
An apparent solution would be to use earplugs, but those would block not only the unwanted noise, but also the sounds that motorcycle riders should hear (e.g. other vehicles’ horns). Sena’s Intelligent Noise-Cancelling helmet seems to be the best product riders could use, as it really keeps out useless noise from the rider’s ears.
Sena has been developing Bluetooth communication systems for motorcycle riders since 1998, and this expertise is clearly reflected in their Intelligent Noise-Cancelling helmet, which was showcased at the 2015 American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) in Orlando.
“We’re thrilled to have Sena unveil its latest innovation here at AIMExpo,” stated Cinnamon Kernes, AIMExpo Show Director. “They have been an exhibitor and partner since our launch. Choosing AIMExpo as the place to debut their new helmet and taking advantage of the media and dealer presence exemplifies exactly how the AIMExpo platform was intended to be utilized.”
What Sena did was to cancel annoying sounds, thus letting the rider hear only the surrounding sounds that could influence his safety. The entire concept is not that different from how noise-cancelling headphones work, with the mention that those block all external sounds. The similarities raise from the fact that both the INC helmet and the headphones rely on microphones to achieve their goal.
More precisely, Sena’s INC helmet features four hidden microphones that capture surrounding sounds and transmit them to the central INC module, which is located in the lower back of the helmet.
The INC module identifies the wave patterns that leave out the useless noise, and play the result straight to the built-in ear cups. As a matter of fact, the INC module gets rid of anything below the 100 dB barrier, meaning that all of the low-frequency sounds that could harm motorcycle riders in the long run are left out.
On top of that, the intelligent noise-cancelling helmet features an Ambient Mode that enables riders to communicate with nearby people without having to take off the helmet. One scenario when such a feature could prove useful is when talking to gas station personnel while fueling up the motorcycle. In this case, the four embedded microphones will pick up whatever the other people are saying, and transmit the sounds into the ear cups, so that the rider hears everything loud and clear.
The 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) helmet will be offered in several different colors, ranging from black and white to Hi-Viz Yellow. All of these will be furthermore available with either a clear or a tinted visor. Sena has yet to disclose the price of the INC helmet, but claimed that the product should hit the market in early 2016.
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