Bike-sharing programs are a good idea, particularly for people who occasionally find themselves in need of some last-mile transportation. It’s pretty doubtful, however, that such people are always going to be packing a bike helmet. That’s why the HelmetHub helmet vending machine was invented.

Developed by the Boston-based HelmetHub company, the theft- and vandal-resistant machine can hold up to 36 re-usable helmets at a time, in three sizes.

An electronic user interface allows bike-sharing co-op members to identify themselves, then request or return a helmet. The HelmetHub online administration software tracks how many helmets are present in each machine, so that used helmets can be picked up for inspection and sanitizing, and machines that are running low can be topped up with clean helmets.

Because the machine is solar-powered, it doesn’t require an external power source. The idea is that HelmetHubs will be located with the bikes, at bike-sharing stations, wherever they happen to be.

The City of Boston, appropriately enough, is the first user of the technology. It will officially launch a HelmetHub program this Thursday, by supplying four city-run bike-sharing stations with the machines.

If you just can’t stand the thought of wearing a sanitized-but-still-used helmet, though, perhaps the one-time-use Paper Pulp Helmet might be more to your liking.

Source: HelmetHub