June 9, 2008 A young industrial designer has created a new type of safety helmet for the construction industry that is a little smarter than most. The “ProActive” helmet features a flexible inner layer that remains soft and comfortable during normal use, but immediately becomes hard and shock-absorbent when subjected to impact.
In addition to the added safety function, the ProActive helmet is also unique in shape. The designer of the helmet, Tore Christian Bjørsvik Storholmen, says his motivation was the fact that as far as appearance is concerned, safety helmets have not altered much in the course of the past 30 years. “The shape of my concept was inspired by the baseball cap which has long been popular headgear in the construction industry”, he said. Storholmen was driven to create something comfortable that would encourage workers to wear their safety gear.
The inside of the helmet is lined with soft, flexible material that has the ability to turn rock hard upon impact. “The material on the inside makes my helmet more comfortable in everyday use, and at the same time, safer than traditional models,” says Storholmen.
The design also lends itself to the intergration of communications systems. Ear-protectors made from smart materials that can conduct electricity also form part of the helmet.
Storholmen’s innovative design was a recent winner at the Norwegian Design Council awards, taking out third place in the “Young talents – open class” division. The hotly contested class saw more than one hundred entries ranging from clothing to furniture. A recent university graduate, the young prize winner is now working within SINTEF Health Research’s Work Physiology section with a focus on SmartWear.
Via Svein Tønseth/SINITEF.