Also: Akuma Aegis Hydrophobic Visor
Regular webBikeWorld visitors know that Akuma Helmets, in partnership with Mr. Wizard himself, Kerry Harris, have developed some of the coolest and most interesting helmets and helmet technologies going.
Akuma also pioneered the “IPS” Integrated Power System for motorcycle helmets, which was (and is, as far as I know) the first on-board integrated rechargeable power system for motorcycle helmets.
IPS powers everything from the built-in, forward-facing LED flashlight on Akuma helmets and thepolice Shoei flip-up (review) to the rear-facing red LED “exhaust” lights that fire up on the back of the Akuma Ghost Rider and Akuma Stealth (review) motorcycle helmets.
IPS also powers the ventilation fan in the AFX FX-11 Lightforce helmet (review).
The potential for an on-board, integrated motorcycle helmet power pack is unlimited.
We showed you one example at least year’s Dealer Expo, when we described the ground-breaking Akuma electrochromic visor in a special report posted live from the show, along with a video, which I’ve also included below.
That visor was powered by the on-board IPS system in an Akuma helmet, and as you can see in the video, when the visor is switched on, the tint fades from light to dark — a built-in, electrically powered, on-demand motorcycle helmet visor tint!
Well, Akuma has been hard at work ever since, and we recently had an exclusive opportunity to sample the latest evolution of the world’s first on-demand visor tint technology for motorcycle helmets, now called “Tint on Demand”, or TOD.
The Akuma Gemini “Tint on Demand” Motorcycle Helmet Visor
The photos and video on this page show the near-final prototype of the Akuma “Gemini” TOD motorcycle helmet visor.
So what’s the difference between the original electrochromic visor from the 2008 Dealer Expo and the technology used in the Gemini? Lots!
The Gemini is a completely new concept. It uses the “E-Tint” electro-LCD system, developed byAlphaMicron in partnership with the U.S. Air Force for fighter pilot helmet visors!
Where the electrochromic visor took about 30 seconds or so to change the visor tint from light to completely dark, the Gemini “Tint on Demand” technology is nearly instantaneous — it takes about 0.1 second to turn the tint on or off, as you can see in the video included below.
The Gemini visor consists of a thin insert that is applied to the back of a standard Akuma visor. The insert is similar to the Fog City or ProGrip visors (review) familiar to motorcyclists. The Gemini visor insert also provides a similar anti-fog capability.
The TOD system in the Gemini visor is controlled by a tiny and flat circuit board attached to the inside of the visor, down on the lower left. The system is powered by a tiny battery on the circuit board — the battery is so small I couldn’t even identify it.
The Gemini only requires a very small amount of power to operate, and Akuma says it should last for 30 hours in the “on” dark tint state before needing a recharge.
The visor shown here fits the Akuma R2- and R3-series helmets; unfortunately we didn’t have either one of those models available, or I would have taken the visor out for a spin.
But it’s obvious that this technology will revolutionize motorcycling, and I can’t wait to try the final version.
Akuma plans on releasing the Gemini at the 2009 Powersports Dealer Expo, and you can be sure we’ll be there for our 5th year of live reporting.
A Note on the Photos and Video
It’s important to keep in mind that the visor shown here is a prototype, so the depth, tint color and other factors may change slightly between this version and the final production visor.
Also, note that the visor shown here is not mounted on a helmet, so the sunlight outdoors is spread both in front and in back of the visor, making the tint seem darker with the visor switched off and lighter with the visor switched on.
The effect is different than when the visor is mounted on a helmet, because the helmet is much darker inside and behind the visor.
Each visor will come with a recharger, although the normal IPS recharger provided with Akuma helmets will also work.