July 6, 2004 > Gridiron Computers
by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson
Are you a faithful citizen of the Raider Nation? Do you bleed red and gold? If you answered yes to either of these questions it is time to take a look at what may be the smallest Next Big Thing to hit the computing market-the Helmet PC.
The time has arrived for the football fanatic to combine their love of the game with a quality computer. Fremont's TouchDown Industries, makers of the Helmet PC, recently launched its appropriately named personal computer. The compact PC consists of a "display" computer for Riddell "replica" or "authentic" helmets available for any team that the athletic-equipment company manufactures. Forget about the Niners screensaver or Washington Husky wallpaper, the hardcore football fan can display their loyalty right on their desktop.
One might think TouchDown CEO, Michael Denney and Director of Operations, Michael Gomez, are downright insane to begin a computer business in the wake of one of the largest economic depressions the area has witnessed.
"Some people might think we're crazy to start a computer business in the year 2004," admits Denney, the creator of the Helmet PC. But given the account of the PC's creation, as told by both Michaels, the Helmet PC was destined to be.
The concept for the innovative computer began as many others have - as a "What if?" Michael Denney, the company's CEO, creator of the Helmet PC and a die-hard Raider fan, was walking through Fry's Electronics searching for parts for a computer he was building when the thought struck him-Why not design a computer case to look like a Raider helmet?
"I turned to my buddy and said, 'If they made [a computer case] like a helmet would you buy it?" says the ardent Denney.
His friend answered with an enthusiastic "Yes!" and the Helmet PC was born
Michael Gomez, a former employee of a Silicon Valley computing giant, lived around the corner from Denney and had occasionally seen him in the neighborhood. The two happened to meet in 2003, a few months into the invention's preliminary stages. The two worked on ten prototypes until settling on the most recent version that is bug-free and ready for market.
From the first prototype, conceived in Denney's garage, to the sleek model available today, the innovative design is sure to please even the most discerning consumer.
Or if football helmets are not your thing and still want to use the Helmet PC for display, let you imagination run wild!
As Gomez explains, "My brother is a martial artist and he came in here and put martial arts headgear on it and it looked really good."
TouchDown Industries emphasize that the Helmet PC is "a desktop computer that the user will proudly want to display on their desk instead of underneath it."
"Every other computer on the market is boring. You have the six beige sides and that's it," notes Denney who realizes that there is consumer demand for flair as well as function.
Aside from its pleasing ascetic aspect, the Helmet PC is a truly compact PC with power that defies its size. It comes equipped with the newest in motherboard technology-a VIA Mini-ITX M10000, with a 1 GHZ embedded CPU. For those of you interested in a more powerful model there is the Commell LV670 Mini-ITC motherboard with the Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHZ CPU.
Starting at $899 (including the helmet of your choice), all models come equipped with 265 MB of DDR Ram, a DVD player/CDRW burner, and Windows XP Professional operating system.
The motherboard also has one PCI slot (giving you the option to install a PCI card), 2 USB 2.0 ports, TV out, parallel port for printing, S-video, Serial port, line-in/line-out and microphone-the typical set-up offered by such computer companies as Dell and Gateway. The Helmet PC comes complete with keyboard and mouse. A one-year warranty and technical support are also included in the price of the Helmet PC. You only need to purchase the monitor of your choice to complete the system.
Denney is quick to point out that, although the PCs are compact and attractive, they are powerful enough to satisfy the average consumer's computing needs.
"We use these computers for all of our work here. This is not a toy; these are fully functional computers. We even run Photoshop on them," says the CEO.
Just like other name brand PC, the Helmet PC can be upgraded to meet your computing needs. While it is Cable/DSL ready, a modem can be added for those with a dial-up connection.
"It's not just a low-end unit. It's for gaming, too," states Denney who is well aware of the demand for powerful PC's among gamers.
The people at Touchdown Industries are often asked how they handle licensing issues. The answer is simple-there aren't any. When Denney applied for a patent, there had never been anything like the Helmet PC on the market. In fact, Denney received the Helmet PC patent within about four months, a very short time considering most patent licenses take between one and two years to be approved.
When Tri-City Voice visited the TouchDown Industry offices, the hum of the central air system was all that could be heard, not the buzz of the numerous computers in use. The Helmet PC is extremely quiet making it ideal for music. One can purchase the optional 5.1 Surround Sound Stereo system for an additional charge and turn their Helmet PC in to a home theater system complete with mini Riddell helmets atop the high-quality speakers.
"It is T.V. ready. For example, if you wanted to have it in your front room and have a wireless keyboard and mouse with your flat panel T.V. and watch your DVDs through it," notes Gomez.
The Helmet PC has the ability to be a complete entertainment center right on your desktop! Its size, coupled with its fresh look, makes it ideal for a college student cramped into a small dorm room.
For all the positive features of the Helmet PC, it is no wonder why TouchDown Industries is so excited about its product. They welcome investors and visitors alike to check out their one-of-a-kind computer.
To get a Helmet PC of your very own, visit the company's website at www.helmetpc.com. You can also stop by their showroom located on Christy Street, just off of Auto Mall Parkway in Fremont and check out the innovative PC in person.
43210 Christy Street, Fremont
(877) 672-TDPC (toll free)