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. Equity

    What the New Urban Anchors Owe Their Cities

    Corporations like Google and Amazon reap the spoils of winner-take-all urbanism. Here’s how they can also bear greater responsibility.

  2. Equity

    This Startup Helps You Buy a House (If You Hand Over Your Airbnb Income)

    For buyers in hot real-estate markets, a new kind of mortgage offered by a company called Loftium might offer a way to purchase a home.

  3. Amazon's Seattle headquarters is pictured.
    Life

    The Ultimate List of Top Contenders for Amazon's HQ2

    We sorted through the longshots and likely contenders so you don’t have to.

  4. A LimeBike is pictured next to a Capital Bikeshare dock.
    Transportation

    Bike Share, Unplanned

    Three private bike-share companies are determined to shake up the streets of D.C. But what, exactly, are they trying to disrupt?

  5. Life

    The Twitter Bot that (Dis)cribes Cities

    L.A. looks like "a Cactus." Is that plain wrong? Or is our hubris keeping us from recognizing the profound meaning behind these captions?