4K, 360-Degree-Capable Bell Helmet Debuts at the Isle of Man TT

Gary Johnson and his 360fly Bell helmet prototype 3 photos
Photo: Bell Helmets
4K, 360-Degree-Capable Bell Helmet4K, 360-Degree-Capable Bell Helmet
Earlier this year, Bell introduced its camera-equipped sports helmet, a piece of gear that brings together the safety required by riding itself and modern imaging technologies aimed at making the viewers experience a truly spectacular one.
Bell partnered with 360fly, who also have dealings with Yamaha MotoGP rider and 2015 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, and the result is a new category of helmets that appear to become increasingly popular, that of lids with integrated cameras.

Back in January, when Bell showed the new 360 camera helmet at the CES, it was still in the prototype phase, but now the lid appears to be fully operational, so Bell rider Gary Johnson took it to the Tourist Trophy in the Isle of Man.

Bell says that the video below is the first-of-its-kind interactive racing footage, and we can expect that this technology will also be licensed to other helmet manufacturers so that it can be met in more places.

One of the biggest advantages is, of course, the fact that the camera does not affect helmet aerodynamics. The small bulge on top of the lid only introduces a small disturbance in the air flow around a rider's head, and it could be compensated for fairly easily in wind tunnel tests.

On the other hand, the 360fly camera itself does not add too much weight to the helmet and does not increase the strain on a motorcyclist's neck, making the use of such camera also suitable for top-tier racing series where every ounce counts.

The footage recorded by the 360fly does indeed offer great seamless stitching and looks quite good, albeit color artifacts still have to be dealt with. Also, given the feature list of the 360fly, this recording is only one of the multiple ways riders can use the camera. Checking out the list below might make you feel like you need a 360fly-equipped Bell helmet all of a sudden.

Excerpt from the features list:

  • Front-Facing Mode: Not all situations require a 360-degree field of view. During those times, 360fly 4K will allow users to record in a 16:9 aspect ratio at 2560x1440 resolution with a field of view of 178x100 degrees (204 diagonal).
  • Time-Lapse Video Mode: Tell a story in a dramatic fashion by capturing a 360-degree time-lapse video. Users can select 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60-second shutter intervals.
  • Motion and Audio Detection Mode: 360fly 4K will automatically begin to record based off any movement or sounds. This feature is great in surveillance or monitoring situations.
  • Accelerometer Activated Record Mode: Not all environments are smartphone friendly, and in those situations 360fly 4K users can activate record mode with a shake of the camera. For instance, a skier without their smartphone may have difficulties pushing the OnePush button with their snow gloves on, so a simple shake of the camera will begin recording.
  • Telemetry: 360fly 4K features a built-in GPS sensor to tag locations, a barometer/altimeter and accelerometer all powered by an advanced Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. Users can now track altitude, speed and edit this data as an overlay into their 360-degree video content.
  • OnePush Button Color-Coding: For clearer visibility and mode recognition, 360fly 4K features an enhanced design with additional color-coded lighting around the OnePush button and bottom of the mounting dock.
  • AutoPilot tracking uses machine learning to track desired subjects/objects through the entire 360-degree field of view
  • Collision Avoidance Alert will automatically notify the rider of potential oncoming dangers that are outside the rider’s natural field of vision
  • Highlight Reel will automatically edit and compile content with the most action
  • Live Streaming - For professional, commercial or advanced users looking to live stream 360-degree video, the integrated camera pairs with its Micro-HDMI accessory

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