Stop speedometer gazing with ‘ugly’ HUD

Ugly speedometer HUD

A Toronto rider has developed an affordable but ugly head-up display (HUD) for a motorcycle helmet that provides speed alerts only so you don’t have to stare at your speedometer all the time.

Colin Lam, who has started producing the HUD for just $US79, admits the controller unit is bulky and ugly, but says it could just save your licence and your life.

“I just thought it was a cool idea and there weren’t any on the market at the time and the ones that were promised cost $700+,” he told us.

The perceived need for such technology is due to the proliferation of speed cameras and radar traps that have turned us into a nation of distracted and dangerous speedometer gazers.

How speedometer HUD works

Ugly speedometer HUD
Light display

Colin’s HUD display unit fits in the visor aperture of any helmet while a bulky and ugly controller attaches to the back with a GoPro-style mount.

Ugly speedometer HUD
Ugly controller

The display unit shows coloured lights that relate to your speed which it gets from a Bluetooth connection to an Android app.

You can set the coloured lights for brightness via the app.

Ugly speedometer HUD
App controls

Colours change from blue (0-9km/h), green (10-19km/h, yellow (20-29km/h), orange (30-39kmh) to red (40-49km/h).

Then it repeats the cycle, going back to blue for 50-59/km/h, green (60-69km/h, yellow (70-79km/h), orange (80-89kmh) to red (90-99km/h).

That’s a lot to remember and it could become a little confusing and distracting trying to remember which colour is which speed.

Hardware engineer

Ugly speedometer HUD
Colin and his Kwaka

Colin is a hardware engineer who started while he was living in California a few years ago.

“I started working on the idea when I got back to Canada in 2016, after I realised that there wasn’t really much helmet display tech out there (this was at the same time that Skully went down),” he says.

“I envisioned something like a fighter pilot’s HUD, but I wound up with this thing. It’s a hell of a lot simpler.”

Bulky issue

He agrees that the controller unit is bulky, but says slimming it down could be difficult.

“The best way to slim down the rear unit is to replace the three alkaline AAA batteries with lithium ion,” he says.Ugly speedometer HUD

“But Li-ion batteries don’t do well when they’re punctured or abraded. They explode.

“Alkalines, on the other hand, are usually okay, even when they’re sawn in half.

“Keeping the price tag low means using off-the-shelf batteries that are still safe, so I’m kind of stuck.

“As for the ugliness, you know, I figured that it’s kind of like Crocs. It’s kind of obvious, so I shouldn’t bother hiding it. If it’s useful enough, though, I think people will look past that.”

Where to buyUgly speedometer HUD

Colin plans to sell the speedometer on advancedmoto.com.

“For the record, I haven’t sold a single one yet, but they’re completely ready to go,” he says.

“I’d like to expand the app to Apple iOS at some point; maybe once I get a clearer idea if this is something that will actually sell,” he says.

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