Noise-reduction Bluetooth for helmets
The world’s first active noise-cancelling helmet bluetooth system for a range of helmets is now available for order with delivery expected later this year.
Developed by DAAL Noise Control Systems in collaboration with Nolan helmets’ N-Com Bluetooth intercoms, the DAAL DXL-5 can be ordered by clicking here.
It will cost 5990 Norwegian Kroner which is about $A930, €630 or $US680 and you will need to pay half when you order.
It is initially only available for use in the Nolan X-Lite X1005 helmet, but units will be available for other helmets probably from next year.
This device should be a huge safety and comfort boost for riders to avoid hearing loss and fatigue from dangerous wind noise frequencies that can reach 110dB or as much as an AC/DC concert, even in the quietest of helmets.
Critics should note that even though this is called an active noise-cancelling (ANC) system, it is actually a noise-reduction system.
Earplugs are a noise cancelling system. But on the road, they can be dangerous as they prevent riders hearing important noises such as car horns, sirens and screeching tyres.
The DAAL DXL-5 is more correctly referred to as an active noise reduction system that filters out the most dangerous frequencies caused by wind noise.
DAAL founder and CEO Dag Loe says it is also different to the noise-cancelling earphones we may be used to.
“Unlike generic noise cancellation headphones, our system is developed specifically to perform in the harsh and demanding noise environment inside a motorcycle helmet – and actually performs well for wind noise,” he says.
Active noise-cancelling systems generate a reverse sound wave of the background noise and play it through the speakers to cancel out the unwanted, harmful noise.
The DAAL system consists of a microphone next to your ear, speakers by your ears and am eight-hour battery in the back of the helmet. Total weight of the system is 150g.
Because of the various elements required, the system cannot be an aftermarket, retro-fit unit like most simple Bluetooth intercoms that clip to the side of your helmet.
Instead, the DAAL DXL-5 has to be separately designed for each helmet.
Apart from reducing noise, it connects via Bluetooth 4.1 class 1 to most smart phones, GPS and other Bluetooth devices including many other helmet intercoms.
Sena was the first to introduce a helmet with an integrated electronic noise-cancelling intercom system. It is not yet available in Australia.
The DAAL system will be the first to fit a wide range of helmets.
We first published news about the development of this product back in 2018 when it was excepted to be delivered in 2020.
The intervening years of the pandemic have no doubt interrupted development with delivery expected later this year for use in the Nolan X-Lite X1005 with more applications available from next year.
Dag says their goal is to make DAAL ANC available for as many motorcyclists as possible, regardless of brands.
“From a scaling perspective, universal aftermarket sales is the way to go,” he says.
“However, since there are some specific challenges regarding system-helmet integration that needs to be solved in order to make a product delivery at all – we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with an industry leader like Nolan (and N-Com).
“The basic form factor of the resulting product can in principle fit into any helmet (we are not removing any EPS, we are sticking to the standard 40mm shallow intercom speaker recess that you find in most modern helmets, and so forth).
“However the specific timeline moving forward is not yet set, seeing as we are currently in a period where our focus is heavily on learning from customer feedback and making sure we execute our deliveries properly!
DAAL claim production will be limited in 2022 due to the global component shortage.
Consequently, we have not yet been assigned a unit for review, but have been promised one when they are available.
I have high hopes for this device as I, like many other mature-aged riders, suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears) from years of riding. Click here for more information.
I wear special earplugs to filter out the damaging wind noise, but still allow me to hear important sirens, horns and other noises, as well as my helmet intercom.
They work well, but I would prefer a less fiddly system integrated into a helmet like the DAAL system or the integrated unit in Sena’s Momentum helmet.
I’ve tried Bose noise-cancelling headphones under my helmet, but they are uncomfortable and can’t cope with the amount of wind and other noise developed when riding a motorcycle. It’s a much louder and more unpredictable noise environment than, say, on a plane where active noise cancelling headphones work quite well.
Given the amount of development time and specific research into wind noise for motorcyclists, this should be suitable for riders.
DAAL product tester and Norwegian enduro racer Pål Anders Ullevålseter says the reduced sound levels from the device provide a much more comfortable environment for the rider.
Pål Anders Ullevålseter
“I experience less fatigue when driving with DAAL ANC, and do not get the same pain in the ears that I do when I drive without it,” he says.
“It is easier to hear what is happening around you when you drive with the system, and by and large the riding experience is better.”
DAAL product designer Kjetil Grimsæth says their active noise reduction technology will, in principle, fit into any helmet without compromising safety.
“At the same time, DAAL ANC is self-learning and adapts to each individual user,” he says.
“This is built on the fundament of a controller core that has been developed to cope with very demanding noise environments.”
DAAL boss Dag says their product will provide a more comfortable ride as well as preserve their hearing.
“Many riders have been looking forward to being able to order noise reduction for their motorcycle helmet,” he says.
The combination of very high sound pressure levels and unpredictable noise characteristics, as well as the need to simultaneously ensure safety, were the challenges DAAL had to solve in the development of DAAL ANC.
DAAL Noise Control Systems was developed in labs and wind tunnels in the tech-sphere around NTNU university in Trondheim, Norway.
They have received substantial investment from several successful fund-raising campaigns through the equity crowdfunding platform Folkeinvest.
Dag and co-founder Sigmund Birkeland also invested all their savings in the project and Dag even had to sell his motorcycle.
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