Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch today (Monday) praised a Palaszczuk Government-backed startup behind a new bicycle safety helmet believed to be a world-first innovation.
Ms Enoch said Cyclevision – which secured a $100,000 Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas grant to take its product to market – devised the ‘smart helmet’’ featuring video streaming technology to give riders advance warning of impending collisions.
"Bicycle riders are vulnerable road users, and the number of cyclists hospitalised as a result of road incidents nationally has been increasing by about four per cent each year," Ms Enoch said.
"But with enough warning, a cyclist may be able to take the necessary action to avoid a collision, especially with vehicles approaching from behind and this smart Cyclevision helmet is a great solution.
“This is another great example of why the Palaszczuk Government through its Advance Queensland initiative is backing good ideas to turn them into commercial reality,” she said.
The helmet features inbuilt Wi-Fi technology and live-time rear-vision streaming.
High definition live streaming from the rear camera is transmitted to the cyclist's smart phone, which can be mounted hands-free on the handlebars, providing a wide angle, electronic rear view mirror.
The front and rear cameras are embedded in the structure of the helmet along the centreline. Both record simultaneously onto twin micro data storage cards.
Rob Asker and his wife Suzanne are co-founders of Cairns-based Cyclevision.
Mr Asker - a cycling enthusiast since childhood and aviation engineer by profession - started work on the new safety helmet after being knocked off his bike by a passing car for the second time while riding home from work.
"This is the Holy Grail for cyclists worldwide – forward and rear camera systems recording high-definition vision and sound simultaneously, with the added ability to display the rear vision in live time,” Mr Asker said.
"Both cameras record 160 degrees wide and 140 degrees high views front and back, with their positioning designed to accommodate the downward-facing angle of the head which most riders tend to adopt on long hauls.”
Mr Asker said the helmet's developmental journey has taken several years and the couple’s life's savings to progress.
"Fortunately, we've managed to attract some fantastic investors to our cause, and we are truly grateful for their support and patience over the life of this project," he said.
"There's strong demand from cyclists around the world for this type of product. Our market research is telling us that we may need to scale our supply chain rapidly in our first year.
"The vulnerability and frailty of the cyclist compared to other co-road users is an extremely one sided affair.
"An error of judgement by either party could have fatal consequences, and for the cyclist it often happens without warning.
"I was lucky when I got knocked off my bike on both occasions and didn't do serious damage, but the messages of encouragement I am receiving to keep persisting with the project from riders around the world who haven't been as fortunate is really humbling."
Cyclevision- which is expecting its first batch of 500 helmets to arrive next month - was recognised as the Best Pipeline Product at the 2016 Tropical North Queensland Innovation Awards.
Ignite Ideas is part of the Palaszczuk Government's $420 million Advance Queensland initiative designed to supercharge the economy and create jobs through innovation.