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. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  2. Design

    How We Map Epidemics

    Cartographers are mapping the coronavirus in more sophisticated ways than past epidemics. But visualizing outbreaks dates back to cholera and yellow fever.

  3. photo: Masdar City in Abu Dhabi
    Environment

    What Abu Dhabi’s City of the Future Looks Like Now

    At the UN’s World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.

  4. photo: An elderly resident of a village in Japan's Gunma Prefecture.
    Life

    In Japan’s Vanishing Rural Towns, Newcomers Are Wanted

    Facing declining birthrates and rural depopulation, hundreds of “marginal villages” could vanish in a few decades. But some small towns are fighting back.

  5. Design

    To Navigate Love, French Intellectuals Mapped It

    Starting in the 17th century, allegorical maps became a way of talking about relationships, from the Castle of Cuckoldry to the Abyss of Despair.

×