Wireless helmet takes road safety to the next level

The number of road accidents involving motorcycles continues to grow at an alarming rate.  According to the Land Transportation Office, accidents related to motorcycles have nearly doubled from 11,745 in 2005 to 20,518 in 2011.

Tarlac State University’s Helmet Engineered for Accidents and Disasters 
(HEAD) not only protects the rider, but also facilitates speedy 
rescue during accidents, and recovery of stolen motorcycles.

Motorcycle accidents have also been cited as one of the top causes of death in the Philippines that is why motorcycle makers have been advocating road safety and the use of protective gear, including helmets, to its customers, which numbered over 3.4 million based on industry data as of end-2011.

This is why a team of students from Tarlac State University thought of developing a wireless helmet that not only protects the rider but also pinpoints his location via global positioning system for speedy rescue in case he is involved in an accident.

Smart HEAD, short for Helmet Engineered for Accidents and Disasters, is the school’s entry to the 9th SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards.  It emerged first runner-up at the yearly innovation awards mounted by Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) under the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program or SWEEP.

“A friend of our mentor died from a motorcycle accident. Since the accident happened in an isolated road, it wasn’t until the next morning when his body was found. This is why it is important to not just have helmets as a protective gear but also to pinpoint the victim’s location for easier rescue,” said team leader Ranier Rivera.

While the government is already enforcing Republic Act 10054, which mandates motorcycle riders to wear ICC-approved helmets as protection against head injuries while on the road, accidents still happen and at an alarming rate.

Rivera said another factor contributing to the high mortality rate of motorcycle accident victims is the late notification of authorities, slowing down rescue operations and further reducing the victims’ chances of survival.

HEAD’s mobile component allows
location of both rider and motorcycle via GPS.

More than just road safety, the team also cited the issue on security.  Since the motorcycle is very compact, it is very easy to steal.  Despite the countless cases of motorcycle theft in the country, there is still no credible security system that prevents motorcycle theft.

In a bid to address these perennial problems hounding motorcycle riders, the group has developed a wireless device and mobile application that would enable faster and more efficient rescue of motorcycle accident victims via global positioning system (GPS) technology.  It also gives automatic updates of the victim’s vital signs to the nearest relative or hospital via SMS.

With GPS, the device also helps recovery of stolen motorcycles. The device also has embedded security features.

With over 3.4 million units sold in the Philippines, the wireless helmet has a sure market among motorcycle enthusiasts and owners; and companies that make use of motorcycles for their delivery and logistical requirements.

Its locator feature would come in very handy for fast-food chains and restaurants for real-time status of deliveries.

Apart from Rivera, the other members of the team are Perfecto Sacramento Jr., Charlemagne Fernandez, Janine Talavera, John Mark dela Cruz, John Christopher Siongco and mentor, Engr. Crispin Flora.

Smart has been supporting innovative wireless devices and mobile apps that provide solutions to problems besetting certain segments of the society via the annual SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards. By providing the technology platform, the telco is encouraging students to take part in nation-building by developing applications for the social good.

SWEEP, short for Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program, is the first-of-its-kind partnership between the telecommunications industry and the academe that utilizes Information and Communications Technology to help enhance the quality of Philippine engineering education.

For more details about the apps and SWEEP, do visit www.smartsweep.ph.

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