Folding Paper EcoHelmet Wins James Dyson Design Award

Folding Paper EcoHelmet Wins James Dyson Design Award

When it comes to life-saving protective gear, “collapsible” doesn’t seem like a word you’d want to hear, but this folding bike helmet just won this year’s James Dyson Design Award for its unique design and unusual strength. In particular, the helmet has a unique expanding honeycomb configuration comprised of thick paper to protect the head from impact. The EcoHelmet designed by industrial designer Isis Shiffer makes it easy for a commuter to carry a bike helmet anywhere they go, particularly when traveling in urban centers and making use of rented bikes. Shiffer has created a low-cost helmet to address difficult and expensive need to buy or rent a helmet while traveling overseas, where bike rentals are common but helmets are a completely different story.

Folding Paper EcoHelmet Wins James Dyson Design Award

Isis Shiffer is an industrial designer and founder of Spitfire Industry, a design consultancy based in Brooklyn that focuses on sustainability and transportation. Isis’ designs have won national and international awards and been displayed in four continents. She recently earned her Master’s of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. Outside the studio Isis enjoys cycling, fine art, mountains and underground music.

The helmet works in the same way a traditional polystyrene helmet does, with the cell structure distributing any impact evenly around the head. The rapid nature of the cells means it will protect the user from a blow coming from any direction. The bike accessory is perfect for those using city bike-sharing schemes as it can fold flat in a backpack when not being used. Although the helmet is made out of paper, it has a biodegradable coating to make it rain resistant for up to three hours.

Folding Paper EcoHelmet Wins James Dyson Design Award

“I was lucky enough to be studying at Royal College of Art and the Imperial College of London for a semester, and was granted access to Imperial’s crash lab,” said Shiffer. “They had a European standard helmet crash setup that allowed me to gather enough data on EcoHelmet’s proprietary honeycomb configuration to know it was viable and worth developing.”

Folding Paper EcoHelmet Wins James Dyson Design Award

The disposable helmet could be sold in vending machines at bike-hire points and will have an indicator to show when it should be recycled and swapped for a new helmet.

The James Dyson Design Award is given to engineers and designers that create a product to solve a problem, and Shiffer’s helmet “solves an obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way,” Dyson said.

As a result of winning the award, Shiffer will receive £30,000 to develop her helmet commercially and plans to pilot it in New York in early 2017.

via Wired UK

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