Innovation is a hallmark of good design that we discuss in our STV 202 class.  According to noted designer Dieter Rams, it is important to distinguish between true innovation and mere novelty.  True innovation improves the essential function of a design in a given category.  Novelty is change for some other purpose, such as artistic expression or gimmickery.

In that context, consider the Classon intelligent bike helmet.  This helmet provides a variety of features that go beyond the classic function of protecting a cyclist's noggin in the event of tumble of a bike:

Classon is designed with LEDs that blink to indicate the rider's intention to others. An integrated accelerometer automatically triggers the brake lights when it detects that the user is coming to a stop. But instead of a handlebar switch to trigger left/right turn signals (on both the helmet's front and back sides), Classon features sensors that read body movement and actuate the appropriate turning light based on hand gestures. Classon packs front- and rear-facing cameras that serve a dual purpose, which has also been seen in the yet-to-release Nand Logic Smart Helmet. While riding, the cameras continually scan surroundings for approaching objects (e.g. cars). An algorithm interprets the information to let users know when something is approaching from behind. While Nand Logic's design warns with audio, Classon employs LEDs mounted under the visor that blink to indicate incoming/blind spot traffic. Up to six hours of HD video can be recorded and saved to Classon's 4 GB internal memory. While it may not shoot wide-angle footage like Forcite Alpine ski helmet, a companion app can enable live streaming and quick access to edit/share videos or GIFs on social media. However, this features does require a "Classon Club" subscription, which also provides access to riding stats, GPS-guided navigation (via visor lights), and future updates.

Brooklyness has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the Classon, which costs $99.

As usual, the question is: Is the Classon a gimmick?

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