Sorry to be such a tease, but I wouldn’t be doing my job reporting what’s happening with the Skully AR-1 Augmented Reality Motorcycle Helmet if I didn’t share this. Full disclosure, there are no new details in the post that I haven’t mentioned already. So send your questions about price, release date and how you can become a beta tester directly to Skully. : )
On July 22, 2014 there was an event at a hip location in San Francisco for local riders who had been chosen as beta testers. For the first time, we beta testers were able to meet one another, ask questions of the Skully team members, and spend more time with the AR-1 in a group environment. For some of the beta testers, I believe this may have been their first time to
fondle, I mean drool-over, that is to say, “try on” (yeah, that’s it, “try on”) the AR-1.
So there we were: the few, the proud, the frickin’ Beta Testers! We were sipping on good wine and beer, snacking on excellent hors d’ oeuvres, and frothing at the mouth to learn more about Skully’s plans for the AR-1. One thing we did find out was that there have been over 100,000 beta tester applications. Wow! As a marketing professional I can say that few companies have engendered so much anticipatory excitement for a new product and it portends good things for Skully and the launch of the AR-1. It also humbled us as the chosen few and instilled in us a responsibility to do a good job for Skully in terms of feedback back to the development team and promotion to the riding public at large.
Skully’s CEO, Marcus Weller, kicked off the meeting in his usual passionate and humble style. He talked about Skully’s mission to bring added safety to humanity and his feelings of how the beta testers could bring real value to the project. Without too long of a wait, Marcus invited us to feel what it was like to wear the AR-1 while sitting on one of the bikes they brought in for the event (one of which was Marcus’ own Ducati 999).
Skully’s Director of Business Management, Mitchell Weller (and Marcus’ brother) helped beta testers evaluate how easy it was to transition between looking at the helmet display, back to the road, and back to the display again. Because the AR-1 uses an infinite focus display reticle, having your eyes make the leap from inside the helmet to outside and back is not troublesome at all. In fact, it started to feel quite natural once you spent a little time with the helmet.
[ note: click on thumbnails below to launch gallery viewer ]
I watched intently as all of the other beta testers tried on and experienced the AR-1. As with my first AR-1 try-on, they expressed surprise and delight at the extremely wide view of the rear-facing camera and how easy it was to see the display, with the visor up or down. I was glad to see a few glasses-wearers trying on the helmet and spoke with two of them after they were done. Each that I spoke with felt that wearing glasses with the display would not be a problem for them and the infinite-focus display worked well.
I heard consistent comments from testers who said they really liked the electro-chromic visor. One very excited rider I spoke with felt that this unique push button on = dark, push button off = clear feature should be considered a primary feature in and of itself.
It was very interesting speaking to the beta testers about their views on the helmet. As you can imagine, everyone was very excited to be there and couldn’t wait to take one home. But alas, that was not the intent of this night’s meeting. It was a meet-and-greet between the beta testers and the Skully team members and it was a great success. Here are more photos of of beta testers and me trying on the AR-1 for your tease-ment. I will let you know more when I know more.