Update: LumaHelm in the Media:

The Age reported on LumaHelm!. The comments flogged in as soon as the story went online in the top news section (the online ‘frontpage’ equivalent) talking about cycling safety and the opportunities the LumaHelm affords (Photo: Craig Sillitoe).

Bicycle Victoria, Australia, comments on the LumaHelm:

Update: LumaHelm interviews:

Wouter gave a radio interview about the LumaHelm on the ABC:

Here is another radio interview about the LumaHelm, including webcam coverage:

Alan Chatham talking about the LumaHelm including Twitter pics:

A helmet going beyond safety

We wear helmets to protect us from injury, but how much more can they do for our us in their everyday use?

LumaHelm turns the helmet into a display through which we can communicate, express and play. We are exploring how this can make cycling safer, skateboarding more expressive, improve communication on construction sites, and affect any other activity requiring a helmet. Through this design and research process we want to find out what wearable technology in the future may look like and how it can be more intimately integrated in our everyday lives.

This project is developed by Wouter Walmink, Alan Chatham and Floyd Mueller.


A work-in-progress video showing the equalizer & bike-indicator demonstration apps.


This video was recorded when a delegation of Audi visited the lab. Wouter Walmink explains the intention behind the LumaHelm project.

Demo for stage performance

How it works

We have covered a normal helmet with LED strips, constituting of 104 LEDs. By carefully positioning the strips we can cover the curved surface of the helmet evenly in light. The strips are linked together and hooked up to an Arduino Uno, allowing us to easily control the lights individually. While Arduino is great for prototyping with hardware, it does not work so well for creating visuals. We therefore made an interface in Processing that can talk to the Arduino. Anything we draw on the screen is mapped and immediately displayed on the helmet.

While the helmet could take any sensor input as a source for visualization, we have already build in an accelerometer. This sensor measures motion, allowing the user to control the helmet through head movement. Furthermore, LumaHelm can also visualize heart rate to make other (road) users aware that the helmet wearer is a fragile human being and makes visible  to others that the wearer invests physical effort. Increased physical effort can lead to decreased attention, hence the LumaHelm makes visible that cyclists might not be in the same bodily state as their fellow road users such as car drivers, hopefully contributing to a better understanding of each other’s different needs, furthering the appreciation of each other.

In the construction of the LumaHelm we made sure not to modify the original helmet, so it would meet safety standards. We build a new cover to be fitted over the existing helmet and LED strips. We made a 3D scan of the helmet and modelled a slightly larger version (1) and had the 3D model CNC-cut (2). The layers were together, sanded down into a smooth mould (3) and we made a vacuum-formed cast from it (4).


Thanks to Zephyr for providing us with the BioHarness sensor which we use to collect heart rate data. Also many thanks to the people inside and outside the lab for all the support.


The LumaHelm received Bronze at the prestigious Spark Design Awards! The Spark Design Awards is the “world’s first multi-level design competition” with a “mission to promote better living through better design”, where LumaHelm fits right in!

Here is the LumaHelm on the Spark Design website, including nice pictures of Wouter and the LumaHelm.

Media Coverage

The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/a-bright-idea-to-help-bike-riders-be-seen-and-not-harmed-20120616-20h1s.html

Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5919688/the-lumahelm-is-a-bike-helmet-that-acts-like-turn-signals

Gizmag: http://www.gizmag.com/lumahelm-led-bicycle-helmet/23041/

Mobile magazine: http://www.mobilemag.com/2012/06/21/lumahelm-uses-programmable-bright-leds-to-keep-you-safe/

PSFK: http://www.psfk.com/2012/06/turn-signal-led-helmet.html

The Press (New Zealand): http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/technology/7121829/A-bright-idea-to-help-bike-riders-be-seen

FashioningTech: http://www.fashioningtech.com/profiles/blogs/lumahelm-an-illuminated-helmet-for-cyclists

Ubergizmo: http://www.ubergizmo.com/2012/06/lumahelm-helmet-lights-up-for-cyclists-safety/

Dvice: http://dvice.com/archives/2012/06/interactive-led.php

New Zealand Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10813983

Idealog: http://www.idealog.co.nz/blog/2012/06/lumahelm-looks-boost-cyclists-visibility

Bike Snob NYC: http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/popularity-contests-its-not-what-you.html

DamnGeeky: http://www.damngeeky.com/2012/06/18/bike-helmet-future-lumahelm-glows-indicate-directions-brakes/

Momentum Magazine: http://momentummag.com/videos/lumahelm-provides-motion-augmented-night-visibility

About IT: http://aboutit.blog.com/2012/06/lumahelm-helmet-lights-up-for-cyclists-safety/

Yahoo (Brasil): http://br.noticias.yahoo.com/laborat%C3%B3rio-desenvolve-capacete-ciclistas-ilumina%C3%A7%C3%A3o-embutida-183232206.html

The Independent (UK): http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/will-deans-ideas-factory-a-nod-of-the-head-to-show-which-way-youre-going-7870112.html

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/pin/265008759293554116/

The Atlanti Cities: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2012/06/not-interrogation-device-just-super-safe-bike-helmet/2373/

Attiki Press (Greek): http://attikipress.gr/news/technology/item/9718-k%CF%81%CE%AC%CE%BD%CE%BF%CF%82-%CE%BC%CE%B5-104-%CF%86%CF%89%CF%84%CE%AC%CE%BA%CE%B9%CE%B1-led

Gizmodo (French): http://www.gizmodo.fr/2012/06/24/casque-velo-clignotant.html

Punto Informatico (Italian): http://punto-informatico.it/3548282/Gadget/News/segnaletica-testa.aspx

Inhabitat: http://inhabitat.com/lunahelm-is-a-psychedelic-led-bike-helmet-that-makes-sure-youre-seen-in-the-dark/

Core77: http://www.core77.com/blog/transportation/more_than_meets_the_eye_lumahelm_a_gesture-controlled_led-embedded_helmet_22791.asp

IdeaConnection: http://www.ideaconnection.com/new-inventions/lumahelm-smart-light-helmet-06003.html

The Age newspaper: