Product design case study | Developing electronics for a helmet
Demister shown within helmet and electronic control on arm by person riding a motorbike
VISIN logo on white background

A group of avid motorcyclists continually encountered the problem of their visors fogging up when riding. Acutely aware of compromising both visibility and safety, they tried and tested various products. But with little success to avoid the inevitable condensation. As they had a background of supplying heater solutions they developed a chemical coating which, when combined with a voltage current, instantly generated heat. With a principle in place, they began to develop a visor. They found they needed help in developing electronics for the controller as well as adding further functionality, making it user friendly and developing the visor pad shape so it fitted most helmets.

Concept sketch ideas for developing the housing for an electronic controller during product development

Developing electronics, housing and visor pad

There were several different elements to this project which was grouped into the developing electronics, housing and visor pad. The aim was to create a universal, battery operated visor accessory that performs effectively for all helmet riders. And in the most challenging environmental conditions! We had to figure out how to connect the power visor pad to the power source in a non-obstructive way whilst ensuring it’s comfortable for the user. As well as developing the visor pad shape, we looked at its construction. This includes cable attachments and investing suitable materials for the plastic film, and how it would adhere to the visor. Next was the additional functionality and the possible effects on the electronics requirement. And of course it had to be waterproof, safe and weather resistant. As a consumer product they wanted it to look as good as it performed. Who wouldn’t?

CAD drawings showing development of electronics and housing for a helmet accessory
3d models of housing for electronic PCB for motorbike helmet product development

Road testing the prototypes

Several different specialists worked on defining the brief. Preliminary tests with the coating determined current values for different time lengths to achieve various functions (including standard heating mode, boost mode, charging function and torch). We designed the PCB hardware then wrote the firmware to make five prototype boards for testing. We investigated the shape and size of the housing and presented our findings through concept drawings. CAD was produced for the necessary engineering, styling for a high-end look then photo-realistic renders to really bring the designs to life. We provided five fully functioning prototypes (using 3D printing for the housing) for testing of comfort and fit for both internal parts and the user. These prototypes were thoroughly road-tested, travelling 10,000km from Cape Town to Victoria – and back! It was clear that performance under such gruelling conditions of heavy cold rain contrasting with extreme heat was crucial. Therefore we achieved the IP65 rating for protection against the elements.

Motorcycle helmet in black, yellow and red showing demisting visor that was developed

Releasing product into the market

Phew! There was a lot to do but it didn’t quite end there. Potentially the coating technology could be utilised in other industries so we created a further two unique prototypes for demonstrating the principle to potential clients. For the helmet accessory though, the final product is a universal film pack for applying to any existing visor allowing motorcycle, snowmobile and other wearers of helmets to fully close their visors. With a boost for extra visibility, a built-in torch as well as the ability to plug in your phone, it’s versatile as well as safe. Our customer was keen to start telling their own story so we produced photo-realistic renders, arranged photos and created a promotional video for their website and social media, as well as detailing technical specifications for advertising.

Renders of housing for electronics which controls VISIN motorbike helmet product

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