Wireless Brake Light Helmet

wireless brake light helmet

[Firoz Ahammad] added 5 ultra bright LEDs to his motorcycle helmet. It uses a Maxim wireless tx/rx pair and is powered by 3 rechargeable batteries. He spaced the LEDs evenly across the thickest area of the helmet. I personally wouldn’t mod my safety equipment or I’d at least put the LEDs in preexisting vent holes.

56 thoughts on “Wireless Brake Light Helmet

  1. A great idea, but I am with others in that the holes in the helmet for the LEDs are a bad bad idea. Maybe this would be better implemented as part a jacket, or as a vest. If the lights were laid out across the shoulders, they would be highly visible.

  2. Most motorcycle helmets are fiberglass. Obviously the holes would weaken the overall structure, but helmets are not known to withstand hard blows anyways. Even dropping one can fracture it. Seeing as a helmet is basically one time use, I would rather have the lights and avoid a potential use

  3. Drilling into safty equipment is a bad idea. It would be far better to put it in some kind of external case and then run the led wires into the helmet to the rx and battery.

    I’m going to be doing a tail light mod when I get my motorcycle so I will let you guys know about it when I get it done.

  4. OK, I know there’s a generally a lot of unwarranted negativity in these comments. But this one is pretty bad.

    1) No technical detail is given.
    2) It poses the risk of compromising the safety of the helmet.
    3) How is this supposed to make you safer? I mean, if someone crashes into you because they didn’t see you or your bike, are they really gonna see 5 little LEDs – which can’t be seen except from the rear, and aren’t even on unless you’re braking?

    Tune in next week when Mr. Firoz attempts to correct #3 by replacing the LEDs with 5x 5W Luxeon Stars.

    And the week after that when he posts from the hospital, after he was run into by a driver who claims to have been blinded by a “mysterious, dazzling light”.

  5. I agree, this guy is an idiot, you shouldn’t even put stickers onto motorcycle helmets, let alone drill holes in them. If you want to be safer, wear a high visibilty flourescent jacket.
    Nobody is expecting to see lights on the back of your head, so it doesn’t even help in that respect. I think you should withdraw this one on safety grounds.

  6. I like the mod. I think this shows a fantastic, creative use of inexpensive technology in a way that is both cool and performs a benefit.

    I’m a firefighter-geek (a Lt. actually) and I may take this idea and use something like it in one way or another with some of our equipment. Visibility is a real challenge and I like the idea of a passive adaptation like this.

    I agree that modifying a helmet isn’t a great idea — though frankly those who suggest helmets are one-time disposables are also correct. I’m sure an attached thin strip led set rather than drilling holes the helmet would be a good compromise.

  7. I agree that drilling holes in your safety equipment is not generally a good thing, but I really wanna know more on this project. How is this done? Can we see the schematic?

    I’d like to tie this into a project im working on.

  8. ya… Not the best implementation or the best description. Drilling holes is a bad idea… especially when you could accomplish the same thing easily without drilling them.

    I assume that the Maxim TX/RX thing is just a radio bridge. So I don’t know how exactly he did it… but I think you could easily do the same thing with a pair of pics:
    1. Have the sender monitor the break light (say with a photo-resistor if you didn’t want to break into the housing or tap the line someplace else).
    2. The sending pic then sends a pulse to the TX circuit.
    3. The RX circuit receives the pulse and hands it off to the second pic which triggers the LEDs. Simple as that. Use a pair of 8 pin picaxes if you aren’t into more advanced programing or you lack a burner.

    Or depending on the TX/RX models maybe you could have it trigger a transistor controlling the LEDs directly.

  9. I don’t know about the Maxim rx/tx pairs that the guy used (anyone care to point it out?) but for those interested in short range wireless transmission for really simple tasks like lighting leds, i’d suggest a more available method than PICs or Maxim parts (depending where u live).

    Just get a cheap 5$ wireless doorbell chime plus some transistors to hack into both brake light and chime piezo-speaker signals.
    2x 2n3904/06 + 4x resistors oughta do it.

    If you want multifunction then go with those miniature RC cars, they even have h-bridges and all the output transistors you need plus some have 5+ leds on the controller..but lower range than wireless chimes…still all this for 10$

    Why use a million or so transistors when a handfull does the same?

  10. I agree with the above comments about compromising the strength of the helmet, but i still think this is an extremely novel idea for cyclists, and one that would be well implemented as a velcro/magnetic/whatever-mounted light fixing on the helmet. I think there’s a strong market for a wireless battery-operated device that displays your indicator and brake lights on your head for greater visibility, and a good opportunity exists for someone to take this idea to its conclusion and house the LEDs in a mountable compartment that doesn’t require dangerous modifications to the helmet.

  11. Yeah I’d agree with some of the comments above, it isn’t a good idea to put holes in safety equipment. I know this may sound strange but could this distract other drivers? They suddenly see a red light appear on the back of someones head and look at it? This could cause more problems that it solves.

  12. I would like to point out that the gentleman in the photos appears to be of central Asian descent, perhaps Indian? The numberplate on his motorcycle is also not from Europe or the US. So presumably, he is riding in traffic like this: http://video.google.de/videosearch?q=indian+traffic . Thus, a few holes in his melon-baller to increase visibility may actually help safety.

    #23. Welcome to hack-a-day. Great find on that link, I could really use the radios in that for another project and I can recycle the LEDs for my computer case….

  13. This is a HORRIBLE idea. As a active motorcyclist, I have done my research on how helmets work. They rely on built up potential energy to “explode” out when they impact the ground. Helmets are not just a hard shell with soft-stuff inside. By drilling into his helmet, he has more than likely released a lot of surface tension, making this helmet worthless.

    That being said, the wireless bridge is a great project, just executed incorrectly.

  14. you guys need to lighten up.. this mod is well done and cleanly implemented.. and i would assume that he is driving in city stop-n-go traffic not highway traffic so the speeds probably arent getting up enuff that you would need full protection from the helmet anyway.. and like others have said the added visibity could more than make up for the loss in strength depending on the situation..

    although i do agree a proper write up on this would be nice bcuz it is hard to see anything technical

    anyways just calm down.. its not like you HAVE to do this to ur helmet.. and it wouldnt do anything for people in highway situations anyways

  15. Well the idea is pretty decent but only if adopted using some external casing like a band or something and not compromising with the safety.


    I think you should visit India before counting on the videos.

  16. ahhhhhh
    lots and lots of replies.i never expected them..
    any way.
    yes i’ll agree that making holes to safety stuff is no good.but i managed to make this safer my making holes as small as possible and placing them at calculated distance.this helmet(i choosed specially) has thicker surface at the back side(where i made holes).and the LED holders ate made of metal so definetly they will support the holes against cracking.
    and one more thing i tested one helmet with the same settings and it cracked,but not from the holes.crack started from the front side.

    mainly this is not full fledged project. to make it more safer helmet shld be modified while making its mould itself.imean by keeping a groove for mounting LEDs.
    i wana thank all of u guys for ur replies.

  17. I think this is a great idea, but I agree with others that it’d be better to glue the LEDs onto the outside rather than drill through the helmet.

    I’ve been toying with a similar idea: I want to have a wireless connection to a pair of LEDs *inside* my helmet and have them slaved to my turn signal indicators. I keep forgetting to cancel them after a turn, and I’m guessing that having incorrect turn signals flashing is statistically pretty dangerous.

    Even then, I’m a little worried about having some pointy bit of electronics driven into my skull or a punctured lithium battery strapped to my head in the event of a collision.

    me = safety dork

  18. well a small correction
    the RX/tx pair is not made from MAXIM chip.i bought a RF pair from my local shop(such pairs used in robotics project).i just used the maxim sample box.
    1.the batteries i used are 3 Ni-cd’s.they are care fully packed inside a small box.
    2.i won’t suggest this helmet for high speed riding.my city riding speeed is max 70kmph(44 MPH).i know its pretty slow for u ppl,but in my city(from india)u can’t go above than this as the traffic heavy.
    3.abt disturbance from these LED’s.they are not brighter than the break light.i put arround 20ma for each LED.

  19. I’m fairly well-versed in composite helmet construction. What he’s done is a major safety issue. He has created a series of stress concentrations in what is the highest load-bearing section of the helmet. Find a vent hole or put the LEDs in the plastic trim ring on the bottom of the helmet.

  20. So many people saying you shouldn’t drill holes, only to suggest using a glue… I wouldn’t recommend that either.
    Most glues strong enough for this kind of thing would probably have bad effects on the helmet too.

    Never glue, paint or modify a helmet, unless you are willing to take responsibility for it’s failure.

  21. Oh yeah, and your a bunch of wussies.. If you crash a motorcycle at high enough speeds and hit your head that hard that those little holes are going to significantly weaken the fortitude of the helmut you got alot more to worry about then just your helmut cracking. Your probably going to be dead or horribly mamed. My advice… don’t crash, it hurts or, don’t ride.

  22. I agree that the modification of safety helmets is a bad idea. Something no one has suggested yet is EL films.
    They may not be as bright as 5W Luxeon stars, but they have a nice effect at night and look great for shows! Yes, I know that a helmet with glowing graphics is most likely not street legal, but nither are bored out pipes on a Harley. Live to ride, ride to live, anyone?

  23. “Posted Jul 17, 2006, 8:42 PM ET by targit

    I agree, this guy is an idiot, you shouldn’t even put stickers onto motorcycle helmets”

    Wrong, you should not put stickers on Polycarbonate based helmets

  24. I wholly agree that putting holes in a helmet is plain stupid but did anyone actually look at that piece of crap? This is a standard weak ass ‘plasticky’ piece of crap. Granted that any helmet is usually better than nothing. However, I am pretty sure that if he takes a blow to the head with that thing it won’t really matter about the holes or led’s being drilled into his skull… That bucket is so weasy it’s going to crack or shatter at the point of impact and stop protecting him.

  25. owwww guys.
    i don’t want u to wear this.this is just an prototype idea.as SMD led’s,led strips such things not available here,i had to make holes in it.
    one more thing some companeies making helmet with venting holes,so iam gona use them.
    well any helmet can protect u upto a limit.it will crack any way.as Hotice said even if u normally drop helmet it will crack.

    so don’t take it personally,its just a prototype idea.in next version i’ll try to avoid the holes completely.

  26. Funny to see that people are talking about safety issues on a helmet with holes. As far as I know it is more difficult to get a bike license than a car license in the US. Motorcycles are considered to be deathtraps in most countries.

    But in a place like India, where every hour is rush hour and the highest speeds that one can touch on a bike willingly or unwillingly is 44mph, the “plasticky piece of crap” works just fine.

    As far as visibility of the LED is concerned, many countries use superbright LEDs for their traffic lights because of their extremely clear visibility for long distances.

    And finally, if a person gets “distracted” by “sudden red light” while driving, they should better sit at home and not attempt to drive vehicles and put their or other’s lives in danger.

    Nice project Firoz.

    Funny , how protoypes are being shunned here.


  27. Hey Firoz,
    This is really a commendable stuff. I liked your idea very much and the way you developed your prototype. I dont shout abt safety because I think I knew your perspective of showing this idea but not to weaken the safety of the bike rider. I hope readers too understand the same in this.

    Hey Firoz, Everything is pretty well. It would be much lot better and would be very good if you have taken snaps of each step in a very detailed manner explaining what you did so that other people too can make such a prototype to see how you made it. Just list down the parts, their tech-info if any, a close up photo before assembling them, a shot wherever necessary would make your idea much more clear and detailed because as of now every one here understood that this can be done, but only in pics because the info posted already here would not be enough to make another.

    Hope you got me dude.

    Keep smiling buddy,


  28. before all of you go trashing his cool idea and prototype. talkin about the holes in the helmet. I wonder if any of you people even ride a motorbike of any kind. Fags. Props Firoz.

  29. yes i got it.
    abt taking pictures step by step iwill do it,but it may take some time as my friend took my camera.so i’ll put the photos as soon as possible.
    and abt making them..its very simple.as i said RF modules are available in the shops(the modules cost me 450 indian Repees) i took 27Mhz RF module.which is powred by 3AAA cells,the RF receiver has one output where i’ll get 3AAA cell’s power.so i used 5 LEDs in parallel coupled with 5 resistors.the transmitter need 9v input so i used 7809 with heat sink to power it.
    i know the most IMP thing here is the schematics of the TX/RX.i’ll try to draw them or will ask the shop guy(i hope he will help me)..

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