Feb 132015

One of the obvious applications for smart devices is in motorbike helmets; an article in Intel’s Free Press website describes how they may work in a prototype setup on a BMW BMW R1200GS bike.

The smart helmet, which uses an Intel Edison system, is different from current add on systems in that it directly communicates with the bike’s internal electronics giving a rider a deeper level of control.

“If you need directions, say ‘take me home’ and it’ll queue up directions and give them over audio. But if there isn’t enough gas, then it will redirect you to a gas station first because it can read the bike’s remaining fuel range,” explains Moyerman. “It will also do smart navigation, so if a blind turn is approaching, it’ll give you warning to slow down.”

Creating the prototype isn’t simple as each manufacturer has its own control language, a common problem in retrofitting Internet of Things functions onto devices not designed to connect to a network.

“Putting together a system like that is much more complicated than plug and play. Every vehicle maker has its own data language, which means that there’s no universal standard to interpret the data. The team at Intel worked with BMW’s Bay Area group to translate a R1200GS adventure motorcycle’s own language from the CAN bus (controller area network) to Edison, which then sends it to the smartphone via Bluetooth.”

The same challenge faces car manufacturers as well which increases the risks of vehicle owners being locked into a certain manufacturer’s ecosystem – for instance, buy a BMW and be locked into the Apple HomeKit system.

Regardless of the compatibility problems, we’re increasingly going to see these technologies included with common household items. That many of them are voice activated should give those concerned about the privacy of Samsung smart TVs some pause for thought.

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