This concept visor would highlight best routes and point out landmarks.

Future cyclists could be like today’s jet pilots with head-up displays feeding them navigational directives, if this speculative tech from Future Cities Catapult is to be believed.

The London-based company, devoted to designing smart cities, floated the idea recently among a package of ways to improve the biking experience. The concept is a visor that slides over a cyclist’s face to highlight, perhaps with glowing outlines, the best routes. It’s specifically geared toward those who might struggle following a tricky pathway—say, one that takes shortcuts through parks and obscure alleys.

A route suggestion glows blue when seen through the hypothetical visor. (Future Cities Catapult)

A secondary function of the display could be pointing out landmarks and their distance from cyclists, in effect helping people form internal maps of the city. I thought such wayfinding was a natural byproduct of, you know, human movement. But maybe in the decades to come people will be so computer-dependent they’ll freeze in place without GPS prompts like lost, frightened children.

The visor highlights a landmark in the distance. (Future Cities Catapult)

These augmented helmets might even help improve bike safety, according to Dezeen:

“Many cities are spending serious money, time and attention on improving the ‘hard infrastructure’ of cities to make cycling safer, more convenient, more attractive,” explained Dan Hill, chief design officer at Future Cities Catapult and Dezeen columnist.

“Yet as well as this—and clearly investment in such hard infrastructure is key—there is potential of a soft infrastructure which can be overlaid on existing urban fabric to further support cycling, which takes advantage of contemporary technologies such as wearables, Internet of Things, real-time sensor data, and so on.”

Catapult’s newfangled display is just the latest in a line of jacked-up techno-toppers. There’s this voice-controlled motorcycle helmet akin to those worn by F-35 fighter pilots, for example, and for cyclists there’s one that steers you to the closest bike-share station and another that digitally hollers for help when you crash.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.

  2. Design

    What’s Behind the Iconic Floor Plan of London

    The most common residential floor plans in European cities offer a window into urban history and culture. In London, it’s the “two-up, two-down” row house.

  3. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  4. photo: subway in NYC
    Transportation

    Inside Bloomberg's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

    Drawing on his time as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg proposes handing power and money to urban leaders as part of his Democratic presidential bid.

  5. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

×