Transparent head-mounted display (HMD) for motorcycle helmets

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See-through head-mounted displays (HDM) impose a virtual image over a user’s view of the real world without blocking it. The smartGLAZ project will investigate how a transparent HMD – consisting of an optical engine, a lightguide and diffractive optics – can be integrated onto the visor of a motorcycle helmet. 

Separating the visor from the optical engine

Head-mounted displays such as Google Glass EE, Epson Moverio BT-350 and Microsoft Hololens, are growing in popularity. In addition to enhancing everyday tasks, such displays are capable of boosting the motorcycling experience. A visor-mounted display is a safer and more ergonomic alternative to traditional motorcycle dashboard displays, which motorcyclists must gaze down at to view. To integrate an HMD into a motorcycle helmet, the optical engine must be located remotely from the visor to offer advantages such as design freedom, safety and cost.

Designing an excellent user experience

SmartGLAZ consortium partners are experts in polymer waveguides, design, ergonomics and augmented reality. The new HMD solution that they will develop together will allow information about safety, mobility and other data to be projected onto the motorcyclist’s view. The solution will be connected to accompanying sensors as well as smart devices and the cloud.

A high-performing HMD for different types of motorcycle riders

Among other characteristics, the smartGLAZ display will feature:

  • >80% transparency;
  • 15-degree full diagonal field of view;
  • 5 to 10-meter virtual image distance;
  • high resolution, bright images in one color with low distortion;
  • <10% increase in helmet weight;
  • smart connectivity.

Enriching Flanders and the overall motorcycling experience

Consortium partners will benefit from domain expertise and technical superiority over their competitors, for growth leading to new investments in Flanders. Overall, HMDs in motorcycle helmets will enhance the motorcycling experience for professional riders, opening the door to augmented reality-enhanced safety helmets for police officers and firefighters.

"The smartGLAZ project will investigate how a transparent HMD – consisting of an optical engine, waveguide foil and diffractive optics – can be integrated into the visor of a cloud-connected motorcycle helmet."


Transparent head-mounted display (HMD) for motorcycle helmets.

smartGLAZ is an imec.icon research project funded by imec and Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen.

It started on 01.05.2018 and is set to run until 30.04.2020.

Project information


  • Morphotonics
  • Pinlock Systems
  • Voxdale
  • Zweko Optics


  • imec - CMST
  • imec - IDLab-UGent
  • UAntwerpen - Departement Productontwikkeling


  • Project lead: Geert Van Steenberge     
  • Research lead: Geert Van Steenberge
  • Proposal manager: Geert Van Steenberge 
  • Innovation manager: Annelies Vandamme