A new experimental bike helmet is fitted with 5G tech to provide riders with more information and decision making assistance out on the road.
Will it help?
Does your brain lack the sensory inputs and the bandwidth needed to keep you upright and out of harm's way as you ride to work each day?
Definitely not. The human brain has amazing cognitive abilities and its neural network can far outpace anything a 5G radio chip can ever hope to achieve.
Riding a bike in a complex environment requires a prodigious amount of work by that brain inside our helmet, and it happen so naturally and competently that we are hardly ever aware of it.
In fact, that great feeling of relaxed elation you get while riding, and after riding, and most of the time if you ride regularly, is you brain telling you that your whole body absolutely loves what you are doing.
Riding a bike engages a whole raft of neurological systems: vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste vestibular and proprioception.
We sense speed, distance, space, time, gravity, balance, resistance, effort, heat, colour, sound, and so on.
Keeping all of this coordinated, efficient and productive is what the brain is designed to do, and is what makes us so uniquely human.
And if we don’t use it, we lose it. As so many sedentary people sadly do.
But if you think your brain needs help, we now have the 5G connected Heads Up helmet created in partnership between the telco Telstra and Australian tech start-up Arenberg.
Fitted with a camera it can take advantage of Telstra’s high speed, low latency 5G network, warning riders of possible car door openings and road works up ahead and seeing around corners to detect vehicles before we see them.
Sounds like it could be helpful to those riders in the bike lane on a dark winter’s night sporting their even darker sun glasses?
Seriously, vehicle to vehicle communication may have a future, especially for drivers of cars and trucks.
The reason? Their brains do need help.
Eye tracking research, and related studies, have found that bike riders are far more alert, aware, proactive and reactive on the road than are car drivers. Riders are totally engaged with the task. Drivers far less so.
It is understandable. The poor blighters have been sitting on their bum for half an hour, in a soft, comfy seat, aircon on and relaxing music wafting through the sweet-smelling interior.
The heart is barely beating and the brain is contemplating sleep.
Give them the 5G helmet!
Feature image: Screenshot from the Telstra promotional video
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.