Cycling helmets historically have had a couple of fundamental problems. For the most part, a helmet is an acquired taste and they can be quite odd looking. Most people don’t need (or want) all the vents, aerodynamics and intricate liveries. To top it off, people then have to have a storage solution big enough either end of the cycling activities. This could be a school bag, locker, or most scarily of all hanging off their handle bars where it could be stolen or left out in the rain.
All these facts reduce the likelihood of someone using a helmet.
And the research confirms this. I documented a range of observations, interviews and questionnaires and found that helmets were not being used because of the inconveniences involved and the vanity of the users. As part of our research I had the participants choose a current type of helmet they preferred. The types included were the BMX style skull helmets, aerodynamic MTB helmets and a range of ‘urban’ helmets. The overwhelming majority opted for the more BMX styled helmet preferring the clean, rounded lines that other helmet types simply cannot match.
So, that gave the two main drivers, address the inconvenience and style it like a BMX helmet.
Very early work looked into paper Origami and similar collapsing fold-able structures. Many, many paper and polypropylene mock-ups ensued. Once there was a stable, strong and collapsible structure efforts could be put into integrating this into a protective cycling helmet.
The prototyping methods for this project included laser etching and cutting of the folding sections, CNC milling and SLS 3D printing.
The basis of the helmet is, like the best ideas, simple. A replaceable collapsible centre section sandwiched between two EPS shock absorbing foam and ABS sections that are no different to regular helmets. The centre section is lined on the inside with a shock absorbing material that allows airflow to pass from the slots in the Polypropylene collapsible section straight to the users head.