Power up! POC apparently has big plans for smart helmets

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POC has just announced a new partnership with Exeger, a fellow Swedish company that has pioneered a novel “carbon positive material” that converts ambient light — be it solar or artificial — into electricity without resorting to conventional-looking photovoltaic panels. Exeger’s technology is still in the development phase, but its vision is impressive, including personal electronic devices that almost never need to be plugged in, electric cars that can extend their range just by being outside, and even power-generating rooftops.

POC has a long history of looking far into the future when it comes to next-generation bicycle helmets. It partnered with Volvo and Ericsson several years ago for a research project where the helmet communicated directly with an automobile to prevent car-to-cyclist collisions, for example, and more recently, it showed off a prototype urban helmet that worked with the rider’s smartphone to provide active brake and turn signals.

POC has a long history of looking far forward in terms of safety products, but not many of its wilder prototypes have made it to market. With the prospect of Exeger technology providing a more reliable and plentiful source of power, though, it’ll be interesting to see if that trend begins to reverse. Photo: POC.

All of these concepts require power, however, which perhaps explains why POC has never converted any of these prototypes into production models. With the prospect of Exeger’s power-generating technology, though, one can only wonder what POC may have in mind moving forward.

Smart helmets — or helmets with built-in electronic accessories in general — have, up until now, been the realm of companies like Sena, Lumos, Coros, Livall, and other smaller brands with fairly minimal presence in the bicycle world.

Exeger claims to have developed a technology that can convert solar or artificial light into electricity, and can be incorporated into a wide range of consumer products. Photo: Exeger.

So what might POC have up its sleeves? Well, the company has always been very keenly safety-minded, and has already demonstrated a very strong interest in the urban market, in particular in terms of preventing automobile-to-cyclist collisions. Integrated lighting is an easy assumption, but given POC’s history, it seems more likely that something bigger is looming on the horizon.

“Safety and innovation are at the very center of what we do,” said POC CEO Jonas Sjögren in a press release. “Inspired by our mission, we are driven to explore new ideas and innovate to improve protection for all. Over the years, we have delivered many world firsts, and I am incredibly proud of our new partnership with Exeger, which will introduce ground-breaking technology with the potential to revolutionize safety and wearable technology for our users.”

What does that mean in terms of specific products? Your guess is as good as ours, but it sure sounds interesting.

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