Wandering around the halls of IFA and you will see a lot of repetition, particularly with staple home gadgets like washing machines, fridge/freezers, TVs, and stuff like that. It's nice to come across something new that's actually interesting, and that's exactly how I felt when I found Livall's Helmetphone.
If you ask some irate drivers about their least favourite things about cyclists, you'll probably here about them running red lights, not wearing helmets, and not indicating where they're going. The Helmetphone can't exactly stop them from skipping the lights, or force them to wear head protection, but it can fix that last one with it's built-in turning signals.
They're controlled by a small control, which is designed to be mounted to your handle bars. Just hit the left or right arrows, and it'll start flashing an indicator telling other drivers where you're going - without losing your balance or holding out your hand and feeling like a wally.
Those lights also light up automatically in the dark, or when you go through a tunnel, which also helps deal with that other problem of cyclists who wear dark colours and think lights might tarnish their street cred. Well those people probably don't wear helmets either, but it's an effortless way of making yourself visible without being obnoxious or blinding cars behind you.
The light also functions as an SOS beacon, which activates if you have a fall. It flashes some lights to let passersby know you're not just taking a snooze by the side of the road, and gets in touch with your emergency contact to let them know something is up. If you fall off and end up being completely fine, you have a 90 second window in which you can cancel the alert from the companion app. The same app which can be used to control the helmet's various features.
The final thing you should know is about how the helmet gets its name. It functions as a Bluetooth headset, letting you take and receive calls on the move, or playing audio without having to cut yourself off from the world with earphones. But it's not an obnoxious blasting-out-music-into-the-ears-of-everyone-around type deal. In fact, unless your head is inside the helmet you can barely hear the music. It's remarkable how much louder and clearer the audio was when you actually put it on. Controls are on the underside of the helmet, with one letting you adjust volume and another letting you pause music or take calls.
There's also a walkie-talkie system, which doesn't require the companion app, that lets you communicate with fellow riders using radio signals. This feature is also the major part of the Livall skiing helmet that was also on show. The final point to note is that it has an adjustable fit, so it'll fit you even if you have a big head like me.
Livall's Helmetphone will apparently be arriving in the UK before the end of the year, with prices starting from £90. The battery will last around 10 hours if you only use the light system, or up to six if you use the audio features more regularly. Naturally when it dies, you can still use it as a helmet.