A new smart helmet with a heads-up display could be on its way to market soon.

We love new technology at Infinity Motorcycles. With each passing year, expectations for the latest tech that innovates and adds a new level of convenience grow, and bikers have enjoyed some exciting new gadgets as of late.

Thanks to intercoms and GPS navigation systems, it's easier than ever to have a conversation while on the move or to get from A to B anywhere in the world. But one area that continues to elude the market is a helmet with a head-up display or HUD for short.

A head-up display is a form of augmented reality, which consists of a transparent display that presents essential data to you without requiring you to look away from your usual viewpoints. Think an Iron-Man or Robo-Cop helmet and we're on the same page.

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If Tony Stark chose the NXR2 for his daily wear

Theoretically, an HUD would let you concentrate on the road ahead whilst displaying information like your speed, GPS directions or if you were on a call with somebody.

Everything would be in your field of vision without having you look away at a separate panel or your phone, it's displayed to you instantly and conveniently, and all in one place. Plus it sounds pretty futuristic!

Now cars are no stranger to this kind of tech, and there have been decent attempts in the past to introduce HUD technology to motorcycle helmets, but none of yet to properly crack the market.

There are a few factors which have likely prevented this: a head-up display is likely to add a lot of bulk and weight to a helmet, which is especially concerning to motorcycle riders who would theoretically wear the helmet for hours on end. Its actual performance is also in question, and price would also have been of concern in previous years, though this kind of tech is more prevalent nowadays so it may no longer be of issue.

A quick Google search for helmets with a built-in display brought us to tech like the Eyeride or the CrossHelmet X1, so while they do exist, these kinds of products are usually tackled by start-up tech companies, and we've yet to see a major, established manufacturer produce one yet.

Well, until now that is.

Step in Shoei, who have for years, have been teasing a product patented the "Opticson": a smart helmet featuring a built-in head-up display and an integrated intercom system.

We've seen diagrams and patents of the system and how it would work, but recent images have come out of the Tokyo and Osaka motorcycle shows which show a more polished prototype being demonstrated earlier this year.

Square chin bar houses projector hardware

Incorporated into Shoei's expertly produced motorcycle helmets, the Opticson would work by projecting images onto an angled screen, called a combiner, in front of your line of sight so instructions appear on the road ahead.

It’s a technology that has been used by the military and in cars for years, but the compact nature of a motorcycle helmet has made it a very difficult technology to integrate. The helmet would need to house all the projection equipment, power supply, and other associated hardware in a compact space, without significantly impacting comfort or aerodynamics.

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Technical drawings show the layout of HUD integration

With the ability to connect with a smartphone via Bluetooth, you would be able to get all of your navigation instructions projected right onto the road in front of you via augmented reality. Paired with a Shoei SRL system means you could hear those instructions too.

It currently seems to be able to display road speed, directional arrows, as well as a lane indicator - personally it looks quite impressive and I can't wait to see what the finished article will be able to display, although I don't expect Google Glass levels of info...

Though we are excited by the prospect of a manufacturer as reputable as Shoei dipping their toe into HUD, we can't help but be concerned by the potential weight of the unit.

We would speculate that the base helmet for the system starts off with an incredibly light construction to not fatigue the rider over longer distances, but otherwise we will have to wait until the product actually launches before we can confirm anything.

The technology is definitely in demand as every whisper of a HUD whips up excitement amongst tech-focused riders. It’s won’t be a biking need for many but it will appeal to the increasingly connected world we are moving towards.

What do you guys think? Is there potential for the Opticson to be a resounding success, or are you not interested in the technology?

Want to see Shoei's current range of lids? Shop our range of Shoei Helmets here