Inside Line: Lazer Genesis SMART helmet with heart rate monitor

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Not everyone wants or needs to monitor their heart rate while bicycling, but for some it’s an important health and fitness gauge. In my case, after two false alarms for anxiety or stress-induced heart issues in less than three years, I’ve turned to heart rate monitoring for safety’s sake as well, but have been turned off by the dreaded chest strap.

So imagine my interest when a helmet-based heart rate monitoring system appeared. I’ve worn Lazer helmets for five years, and the Belgian company’s partnership with LifeBEAM, comprised of pilots, engineers and cyclists, began to make sense.

Lifebeam’s first development was a miniature sensing platform implemented into fighter pilot and astronaut helmets, to monitor their physiological conditions. The Israeli company’s SMART platform uses a lightweight microprocessor integrated with LifeBEAM’s advanced algorithm, a state-of-the-art optical physiological sensor, accelerometer, and full wireless communication capabilities.

How does it work?

SMART uses electro-optical technology to continuously measure your heart rate. The tiny optical sensor is placed on the helmet’s front, gently touching your forehead. The sensor samples the blood pulse in a high frequency and transmits a raw signal to the processing unit, which is placed in the helmet’s back.

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The processing unit filters the signal from motion artifacts and, using the communication module, wirelessly transmits the cleansed pulse to your display device in real-time. I synched the SMART helmet technology with my Garmin Edge 510, which also allowed me to set my target zones.

My test helmet includes:

  • 290g large Lazer Sport Genesis helmet integrated with LifeBEAM sensing technology (which adds another 40g);
  • LifeBEAM’s physiological sensor and processing unit:
    • Integrated 3-axis accelerometer;
    • Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+ wireless communication capabilities;
    • Rechargeable lithium battery, with at least 13 hours of continuous usage;
  • USB cable for recharging (the port is on the processing unit in the rear of the helmet).

According to LifeBEAM, the sensor and technology integrated into the SMART platform will allow future implementation of additional sensing, sound and display features. For me, monitoring my heart rate has become second nature, as simple as strapping on my trusty helmet. And with the simple USB port, I just need to recharge it once every other week.

We’re told an updated version is coming that will have a heart rate transmitter that will toggle between Ant+ or Bluetooth so the consumer will not have to decide which version to order. Battery life will be improved to over 17 hours, and MSRP will drop to $229 in the USA.

Price: $249. shop.mysmarthelmet.com

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