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New solar-powered adaptive LCD visor for helmets revealed

26th Jun 2018 12:15 pm

Designed by Shetters, the concept promises to changes tint in 0.04 seconds based on conditions

Vision is one of the most important safety aspects when riding a motorcycle, and it is something that riders can sometimes struggle with. Many such situations arise but one of the most common is entering a tunnel with a tinted visor or exiting one with a clear visor. This can often cause a rider to lose vision for a few crucial seconds as his eyes recalibrate to the surrounding light.

French company Shetters appears to have come up with a solution to this problem with its new adaptive LCD visors. These visors have been under development for nearly four years now and are claimed to react almost instantly to changes in ambient lighting. Shetters says that they will be compatible with certain Arai and Shoei models.

The technology supporting this function involves a small light sensor at the bottom edge of the visor, and an LCD matrix on the remaining surface. When the sensor detects a change in lighting, it takes only 0.04 seconds to activate or deactivate the LCD matrix, thereby increasing or decreasing the level of tint.

The only comparable product is AGV’s LCD visor (cleverly called the AGVisor), but while the AGV unit requires you to routinely charge its battery via a microUSB port, the Shetters visors are designed to run on solar power. A small solar panel is present adjacent to the light sensor, and the visors do not need or use any sort of battery. The AGVisor weighs 198gm, just 20 more than the Race 2 visor that it is based on. Weights for the Shetters visors have not been declared yet.

Moreover, the level of tint on AGV’s visor needs to be manually toggled via a button, whereas the Shetters visors do this for you automatically. Like the AGVisor, the Shetters visors can vary between two levels of tint - an almost clear shade, and full tint. The French manufacturer says that its visors are PinLock compatible and offer 100 percent UV protection as well (they are UV 400 certified).  

Shetters is the brainchild of founder and CEO Jean-Paul Borreau, who created the first prototypes in late 2014. The company was then incorporated in 2016, the same year that the pre-production versions were manufactured. Then, in June this year, the company created a Kickstarter campaign with the intention of raising €188,000.

Those who would like to experience this technology will have to support Shetters on Kickstarter. The first 100 supporters each who would like the Arai and Shoei visors can pledge an amount of €198 (approximately Rs 15,800), after which the amount will rise to €239 (approximately Rs 19000). If enough backers contribute and the total amount of €188,000 is reached by the July 23 deadline, then the supporters’ cards are charged and Shetters gets the money, following which those who have pledged the money will receive their visors from September onwards. If this doesn’t happen, then the backers’ cards will not be charged, and the alternative funding options will have to be explored.

The AGVisor is priced at $279 (approximately Rs 19,000) while not offering as much convenience as the Shetters visors, so the French company’s asking amount doesn’t seem to be all that unreasonable.

For those that are interested in supporting Shetters, these visors are compatible with Arai’s RX-7V, RX-7 QV Pro, Renegade V and Chaser-X models, and Shoei’s CWR-1, NXR, X-Spirit III and RYD models.

For those of you who like the idea of this technology, but don’t ride motorcycles, Shetters also plans to produce a range of sunglasses that work in the same manner, and you can pledge for the same on Kickstarter.

Their Kickstarter campaign has kicked off just this month, and the 99 backers so far have raised more than €24,000. The brand still has a long way to go to achieve its goal and less than a month left to to do so. Given the amount of work and development that has already gone into this project, we wonder how vital this Kickstarter campaign is to the company in terms of sticking to its commercial launch timeline of September 2018.

 

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