Over the five-year partnership, BAE Systems will dedicate £1.5m of engineering time to projects focusing on sports such as cycling, sailing, canoeing and bob skeleton. At the launch, a prototype cycle helmet incorporating technology used in Eurofighter Typhoon fighter pilot helmets demonstrated the potential of the teamwork.
James Baker, director of technology and engineering services at BAE Systems, said: ‘To attract the right people into the industry, things like UK Sport tend to be a good thing for people to be associated with. It’s very much a motivation piece of work, and generally gets ideas flowing.
‘There are some business implications. For instance, some of the work we have done around the athletes with improving the performance of the cyclist could then go improve the performance of the soldier or a pilot because they are in the extreme of what they do – they are operating at extreme pressures, temperatures, stress and so on.’
BAE Systems demonstrated how its defence technology, such as the heads-up mounted display visor on a pilot’s helmet that usually shows information such as the artificial horizon, collision warnings and altitude, could be adapted for a cycle helmet by fitting a display goggle on the front of a helmet to relate details that a cyclist would use for feedback during training.
Although the helmet demonstrated was far from being a finished product, sprint cyclist Jason Queally noted an advantage it could have over existing technology, which provides information such as heart rate and speed in a way that distracts the cyclist from looking at the road ahead.
‘It normally requires you to be looking down or at a watch, so it [the head-up display] is a lot safer,’ he said.