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Space-age safety helmet loaded with gadgets

Tanizawa's U-Met helmet comes in a bewildering array of configurations.

If you think that a lot of the newest technology from Japan is focused on safety then you'd be right, which is why the country is at the cutting edge of robotics , earthquake monitoring and rapid-response equipment . In the latter category comes a high-tech helmet from Tanizawa .

The U-Met Utility Helmet is packed with technology that records events, keeps wearers in touch with base and even creates its own power. Available in two different configurations according to intended use, the U-Met includes a solar panel, a 3G phone, head-mounted lights and a video camera, IC tags, a GPS sensor and vibrating panels that operate as alerts in noisy areas.

Communication the key

Among the scenarios Tanizawa describes for the U-Met are fire-fighters being able to relay video and location data precisely from an incident, security guards recording and tracking assailants, rescue services efficiently coordinating efforts and teams keeping in touch when working in dangerous environments.

Although the current prototype weighs almost 1kg, Tanizawa hopes to halve that before long. There's no word on pricing yet, but if they can fit in a drinks dispenser and a laser-guided paintball gun then we'll take two.