Hands-on review: Cosmo Connected smart brake light for motorcycle helmets
Testing Cosmo Connected, the gyrometer and accelerometer-enabled helmet brake light that gives other road users a vivid heads-up about the rider's momentum.
No matter what safety improvements are made to bikes, brakes or clothing, motorbike riders are still statistically most at risk of serious or fatal injury in the unforunate event of an accident.
One of the primary causes of cars colliding with motorcycles is simply the old “I just didn't see him” excuse, especially at night or in poor weather conditions, hampering visibility. More than half of road traffic accidents between motorcycles and cars in the UK are due to car driver’s negligence.
Cosmo Connected is the first connected add-on helmet light expressly designed to keep motorcyclists more visible on the road. An additional light on the back of the rider’s helmet keeps the warning brake light more in the eyeline of car and lorry drivers, which in turn hopefully speeds up recognition and reaction time and thus avoids collision.
The helmet light has been selling well in France – Cosmo’s home country – since it was launched earlier this year. It is now available for sale directly in the UK at Harrods and on Amazon Launchpad.
E&T tested the Cosmo Connected helmet brake light earlier this year when we met Romain Afflelou, the man behind the innovation.
The kit comprises a magnetic base plate that is attached to the helmet using incredibly strong, pre-installed, double-sided adhesive. Place the adhesive on your helmet where you want the light to be and then leave it for eight hours (or better still overnight) to create the strongest bond.
After this, you can clip the Cosmo light section on and off as necessary for charging and safe storage. The light is separate from the base plate because it has been designed to detach from the helmet in the event of an accident to maintain the structural integrity of your helmet for the best skull protection. That’s definitely something you want.
The product is equipped with a 900mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery, offering (on paper) between five and eight hours of continuous use and between five and seven days on standby mode. A micro-USB cable is supplied for charging and the battery has been designed for safe use in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 65°C during discharge and from 0°C to 45°C for charging. You’re free to use Cosmo in reasonably extreme conditions.
There are several states for Cosmo’s 24-LED light. Mimicking the brake light of a car, Cosmo shines bright red when the rider decelerates, warning anyone behind that the bike is coming to a stop or slowing down. You can also set the light to an always-on state, like a running light, at medium intensity. When deceleration is detected, Cosmo Connected cranks this up to a higher intensity light, just like car brake lights.
If your bike breaks down or you’re stuck in traffic, you can set the Cosmo to ‘warning mode’ via the associated smartphone application which causes the red light to continuously flash.
In the unfortunate event of rider or passenger falling or being involved in an accident, when their helmet hits the ground Cosmo automatically starts blinking red, notifying drivers that you are on the ground and you need help.
Deceleration of the rider (or rather, the rider’s helmet) is determined by the accelerometer inside Cosmo. The light is immediately illuminated as soon as deceleration is detected, even if the rider has not physically applied the brakes – Cosmo’s focus is on the helmet and its wearer: not on the motorbike.
A gyrometer inside Cosmo further detects the rate of change of angles undergone by the helmet around three axes. The electronic signatures of these movements, coupled with those of the accelerometer, make it possible to detect a fall.
The product is communicating with the biker’s smartphone, using Bluetooth Low Energy, and the Cosmo smartphone app. Before using Cosmo, the app – available for iOS and Android – requires the wearer to add important information such as medical history and emergency contacts. This information is required in the event of an accident where emergency responders will automatically be informed of your medical history before treating you and your emergency contacts will be notified.
If Cosmo detects a fall it will warn the app through the Bluetooth connection, which in turn will automatically alert an emergency roadside assistance platform that will try to reach the driver. If the driver is unresponsive – e.g. if the accident is serious – the operator will call rescue within three minutes and sends first responders the GPS coordinates of Cosmo, along with the medical profile of the driver.
This service is provided as part of a subscription (UK pricing to be confirmed). The alert feature that automatically sends a text or email to family and friends is free.
Talking about the UK product launch, Romain Afflelou, president of Cosmo Connected, was very pleased to have secured UK distribution: “We are very happy to finally make Cosmo Connected available in the UK, to all riders and their close ones. Visibility is a constant struggle for motorcyclists, so a detachable helmet light that automatically activates offers them security and gives them back their piece of mind, on all roads and at all times.”
Afflelou sees further applications for Cosmo Connected beyond motorcycle riders and their passengers. Being helmet-based, not vehicle specific, any sport that involves helmets, speed and danger could make use of the light, be it cycling, skiing, horseback riding or extreme sports. The idea of a helmet light could also apply in ‘everyday’ dangerous situations, such as construction, policing, mining and so on.
From our road test experience with Cosmo Connected, there is no doubt that it works. It is very bright, both during the day and especially at night. Deceleration was detected quickly and reliably. Having an additional brake light at helmet height and thus most peoples’ – e.g. most car drivers’ – eye level is clearly supremely advantageous. It’s a wonder no one has thought of it before now.
On the world’s ever-more congested roads, two-wheeled enthusiasts need all the help and protection they can get. Cosmo Connected is a big help in bringing riders and passengers to the attention of other, woefully inattentive road users.
Cosmo Connected is available in white and black (matte or gloss finish).
Size: 139mm x 43.5mm x 51.6mm
Weight: less than 150g
Battery life: 8 hours
Main components: Accelerometer / Gyrometer; Lithium Accumulator; Bluetooth; LED
Material: Polycarbonate; Methyl Polymethacrylate