Sena, known for its outstanding wireless communication devices for motorcycle helmets, have released during the latest AIMExpo in Florida a new type of helmet that could herald the future of helmets. A helmet that many bikers have been waiting for.
Sena released their first integral helmet, a carbon fibre one, but that wasn’t really the big news; they released the first noise-cancelling motorcycle helmet!
Noise-cancelling is a technology that has been around for a while, and it consists of two loudspeakers, usually in a headphone or earplugs, with one or more integrated microphone(s) that “listen” to the outside ambient noise. When there’s a particular steady noise, like the rumble of an engine, wind, traffic, etc, the built-in processor produces a contrasting noise, thereby cancelling the source noise. My wife uses one to cancel my snoring ;-)
You can buy noise-cancelling headphone and earplugs in many electronic shops, and many seasoned travelers in airplanes, underground, trams, buses and cars use them when on the go.
On a motorcycle, your ears are bombarded with loud noises all the time. Not only your engine, but also the wind rushing over your helmet. These noises can, depending on the quality of your helmet, reach very high, even dangerous levels. 100 dB is not unheard off, and even 130 has been measured.
Not only does this mean your hearing will be degraded permanently overtime, but you will also tire quicker during your motorcycle trip, meaning you’ll lose your concentration. It is the main reason many bikers ride with earplugs. Earplugs work fine, they prevent you from hearing these external noises, but they do come with one big negative side effect: it also diminishes important sounds like horns, sirens, squealing brakes & tires.
The new Sena helmet and its associated technology takes care of this. The repeating sounds like your engine (to a degree, since you’ll still need to hear your engine revving up before changing gear) or the wind are filtered out, while sudden noises like a blaring horn or a firetruck’s siren are not.
The helmet is not always on. You need to power-on the noise-cancelling feature yourself, so you can decide at any given moment whether you want it on or not.
Obviously, since Sena make wireless (Bluetooth) communication devices, this helmet can accommodate their latest Bluetooth 4.1 module. This means that not only will the helmet stop outside ambient noises, but you can also listen to music, talk to your pillion or riding buddies or even, heaven forbid, talk on the phone in a quite environment.
The new helmet, including the optional communication module, will weigh in at 3.5 lb (1.6 kgs). No price is known yet, but the helmet will hit your shop Spring 2016. There’s also a strong rumor that we’ll shortly see a flip-up version.
I know what I have on my birthday wish list. Have a look at the introduction video below.