Exploring the interactive qualities of helmets.

Research project
Project page
Alan Chatham, Florian 'Floyd' Mueller
Project leader, concept development, hardware and software prototyping
Widespread media attention (national TV, radio, newspaper, online)
Research prototype with custom software libraries to easily test applications


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. It helps us explore 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.


LumaHelm is a cycling helmet outfitted with 104 multi-colour LEDs that can be individually controlled. The helmet features a built-in accelerometer, which offers a range of applications for the helmet. At the moment, implemented functions include:,


To be able to experiment with the helmet, it had to comply with safety standards. I therefore extended a standard bicycle helmet, applying the LEDs to the outside and creating a new cover around it. The cover was made by:

  1. Make a 3D scan of the helmet and clean model.
  2. CNC mill a slightly offset version of the helmet.
  3. Put slices together and sand until smooth.
  4. Use mold to vacuum form the cover.

To allow us to quickly prototype for specific use cases, I created two methods for development:

  1. An extendable Processing sketch that translates any programmed visuals to the helmet (first part of video).
  2. An Arduino library making it easy to draw lines and fills on the helmet with minimal processor load (second part of video).