Smart Helmet with arduino

Hi guys~
I am new here and in arduino world in general.
I am currently about to starting working on a project which is going to be based on arduino mainly.
The idea is making motorcycle helmets safer than before.
How? My idea is to attached several vibration sensors to the helmet, where the sensor are connected to an arduino board.
So, when the rider crashes (and I assume that the rider’s head hits the ground), those vibration sensor will sense the amount of stress the helmet gets from hit.
Then it sends the information to the android device (arduino has a bluetooth shield 2.1) via bluetooth.
After android device (smartphone) gets the information, if the data exceeds the minimum stress limit it will then automatically call police and 911.

This is the whole story with no detailed design information.
What I have right now is:

  1. Vibration sensors (2types) x 4 (I have no idea if i need all of them or I can get my idea work with only one sensor)
  2. Arduino board + bluetooth shiled 2.1
  3. Android device (Samsung Galaxy S2 HD)
  4. Helmet (HJC)

I am totally new in working with arduino. So I need your assistance.
Any advice or suggestion would be highly appreciated.

Thank you in advance!

Have you considered using one or two accelerometers in place of some of the vibration sensors? This would give the ability to compare the readings from the different sensors and eliminate many potential false positives. In the USA making false calls to 911 can be a prosecutable offense, and I doubt you'll be very popular with the local police if they get a call because you accidently hit your helmet against something while holding it.

Also be aware that many solvents will totally weaken crash helmets, so how you attach the sensors has to avoid using solvent-based glues.

Far-seeker: Have you considered using one or two accelerometers in place of some of the vibration sensors? This would give the ability to compare the readings from the different sensors and eliminate many potential false positives. In the USA making false calls to 911 can be a prosecutable offense, and I doubt you'll be very popular with the local police if they get a call because you accidently hit your helmet against something while holding it.

Hi Far-seeker,

First off thanks for the reply and I am sorry for my late response. Cos I thought I would be getting email notifications about replies, but it turns out to be not. Speaking of the false positives, I was thinking about to set a certain amount of vibration pulse as default, so in order to make the calling function work, the amount of stress should simply be more than what I set in my program. This is just an idea of mine, however I have no knowledge about electrical engineering nor programming. What do you think about feasibility? Additionally, I also had an idea of making the calling or detection function start when the rider actually starts riding his bike. In this case I could use GPS system to detect the speed. Cos almost all smartphones have GPS sensors and plus the helmet is going to be connected to it. If there is a certain amount speed then the vibration sensor(s) will turn on. (may be your idea about the accelerometers is the same with what I just explained. If not, then please provide more detailed explanation) Moreover, since this is the prototype and it is not required to make calls to 911, just for demonstration purpose I would use my own cell phone number.

MarkT: Also be aware that many solvents will totally weaken crash helmets, so how you attach the sensors has to avoid using solvent-based glues.

Hi MarkT,

Thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate it. Honestly speaking, I am right now in the stage of learning the arduino environment (as I mentioned I am a newbie in arduino world). So I do not know exactly how I am going to stick the sensors to the helmet, but if I speak based on what I have been imagining so far, then the sensors will be attached from inner part of the helmet. Why? Cos I realized that some of the layer inside the helmet are detachable, so I could take them off and attach the sensor(s) and put them back again. I assume that the vibration sensors can detect the stress from inside with no problem. What do you think?

One other thing to be careful of. Make sure that nothing you put inside the helmet increases the risk of injury to the wearer.