Helmet technology has taken a leap, with a design team announcing the development of a thin, semi-soft, foldable helmet for cyclists.
The helmets meet appropriate European safety standards and, unlike traditional helmets, are reusable after an impact.
The innovations in the helmets, which incorporate the use of non-Newtonion materials, have the potential to be developed into designs for use in other sports and pastimes that require head protection.
The project began in early 2019, involving a core team of three: Daniel Bünger, a German with a Masters Degree in Engineering, specialising in bio and nanotechnologies; Wil Marschall, a New Zealander who is an industrial designer based in Britain; and Ulrik Jensen, a Danish concept designer.
The team says the helmet, dubbed the Newton-Rider, is the world’s thinnest helmet to comply with safety standards, being just 16mm thick. Traditional helmets are completely rigid and require a thickness of 30-35 mm to comply with the same standards.
The designers have also incorporated a chip, which can be synced with apps on the likes of hire bikes, providing incentives for those with a helmet.
The team that developed the helmet describe the design as utterly stylish — “a helmet we believe people actually want to wear.”
They said they set lofty design goals because they like to challenge and to push boundaries.
Nothing had really changed in the way bicycle helmets have been manufactured over the last 10 to 15 years, they noted.
Traditional helmets are still a hard, polystyrene hat that, while providing protection, are bulky and uncomfortable to wear.
“Honestly, they do not make you look a lot prettier either. We decided to try to challenge the norm with science and engineering.”
The Newton-Rider is made with carefully formulated compounds of visco-elastic and non-Newtonian materials. The resulting helmet complies with EN 1078 and CPSC safety standards.
“Another advantage of the Newton-Rider helmet design is that in the event of a crash, afterward, it is not unsafe to continue to ride with. It is still as good as new, unlike a traditionally built polystyrene helmet that has to be discarded after any impact.”
The nature of the helmet, with its pads and an elastic and flexible liner, means it can comfortably mold to fit any adult skull shape and circumference between 57cm and 60cm.
Early in development, the helmet attracted the attention of the Danish Innovation Fund because of its innovative concept and engineering.
Its backers have launched an IndieGoGo page offering early-bird deals, with shipping to Europe, the US, Canada and Britain estimated in February. The opening special prices are as low as €69 or $US81 per helmet, which represents 30% off the regular price of €99. Deals at €84 and $US99 are also on offer.