If your first thought when looking at this LED-encrusted bike helmet is “I bet that would make an awesome personal light show for when I shred on my guitar in my bedroom,” you’re not alone.

The actual goal of the LumaHelm, though, is to make bikers safer through improved signaling. The entire helmet is armored with LEDs that respond to various inputs, including from a built-in accelerometer — which means that your head can turn into a brake light or turn signal with just a waggle of the head. 

The LumaHelm isn’t really ready to headline a tour just yet. Its heavy battery pack is only nominally portable. Its accelerometer is cannibalized from a Wii controller. I’m guessing that in its current incarnation, you’d end up setting off the turn signal any time you tried to flick hair out of your eyes. And some of the creators’ ideas are implausibly poetic:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Furthermore, LumaHelm can also visualize heart rate to make other (road) users aware that the helmet wearer is a fragile human being and makes visible to others that the wearer invests physical effort. Increased physical effort can lead to decreased attention, hence the LumaHelm makes visible that cyclists might not be in the same bodily state as their fellow road users such as car drivers, hopefully contributing to a better understanding of each other’s different needs, furthering the appreciation of each other.

It looks cool as shit, though, and in the end, isn’t that what we really care about? If it’s not really practical for biking, maybe it’ll inspire some performance art or rad musical laser shows. A bunch of dudes in light-up bike helmets could easily be Devo for the 21st century.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!