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Regenerative Helmet for cyclists fits like a glove

By

February 15, 2010

The Regenerative Helmet's two rear halves squeeze and lock together for that perfect fit

The Regenerative Helmet's two rear halves squeeze and lock together for that perfect fit

Image Gallery (4 images)

In many countries, wearing a bike helmet while cycling in public places is compulsory because it is proven to have saved lives. However, anyone who has ever applied one of these helmets to their heads knows that are definitely not a one-size-fits-all piece of equipment. An ill-fitting helmet means less protection, but they can require much trial and error to adjust correctly. The Regenerative Helmet overcomes this with its hard outer shell and flexible segments that allow the helmet to contort to provide a better fit. The liner uses dual density multi-impact foam to provide impact protection for both low and high speed accidents.

Shortlisted in the Australian Design Awards - James Dyson Award 2010, the design is by Blake Witherow of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Australia, who spent five months researching new materials and design methods with the aim of providing greater safety and injury prevention for cyclists.

To avoid the problem of ill-fitting and therefore unsafe helmets, the Regenerative Helmet has two rear halves that are squeezed together and held by a ratchet strap. Road cyclists’ beanies and skull caps can still be worn without affecting its correct fit.

And while cold fingers and gloves can make tensioning and/or removing a helmet difficult, the Regenerative Helmet uses a single button with raised dimples to aid tactile feedback.

The helmet consists of an injection-molded HDPE hard outershell, Expanded Polypropylene outer liner and a Brock Foam inner liner.

Witheroe says his research showed current bicycle helmets exposed several deficiencies, including user fitting errors (some even worn backwards) and material deficiencies. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) liners inside many helmets can shatter at impact and provide less impact absorption after multiple impacts. He also says the aggressive styling of some helmets can be damaging to cyclists’ heads and necks on impact and also loose-fitting helmets can dislodge before impact, causing another set of injuries.

Witheroe’s helmet avoids large protrusions and creates a rounder profile. The hard outer shell serves two purposes - to distribute load over a large area thereby reducing the hardness of the liner, and to decrease friction with the road surface.

He believes more durable liners will increase the product life cycle considerably and a Regenerative Helmet should provide protection in the case of multiple impacts within the same accident.

The ‘Regenerative Helmet’ is also designed to make it clear which way the helmet needs to sit on your head.

The design is one of more than 300 entries in this year's Australian Design Awards - James Dyson Awards. Approximately 30 designs are shortlisted to the final round of global judging that takes place later in the year.

8 Comments

In many countries, cycle helmets are compulsory because the helmet manufacturers lobbied long and hard to get legislation passed to make them so.

As for saving lives, look at the evidence -

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4689

As it happens, I do usually wear a helmet, and quite like the look of this one, but let's leave it down to individuals to make their own choices.

Ian

gadgetmind
16th February, 2010 @ 01:25 am PST

Much more at http://www.cyclehelmets.org/, but in short, no, cycle helmets aren't proven to have saved lives. There are countries where they are compulsary because too many people accept claims that they do without checking.

Alan Braggins
17th February, 2010 @ 11:45 am PST

I beg to differ. As someone who has crashed at speed, I firmly believe that the helmets I've always worn kept me from serious injury. Knock your head against the table and see how much it hurts. Then imagine how much more it would hurt if you were slamming into it at 25mph.

In many ways, this helmet is not new. I owned a Skid Lid helmet over 30 years ago that also had a hard shell and EPP lining. But some researchers take issue with EPP and other foams that purport to offer multi-impact protection. They say that the rebound characteristics make EPP more likely to cause undesirable accelerations during impact. The head may bounce back rather than just slowing in the original direction. It's the same reason stuntmen jump into airbags that deflate on impact rather than a bouncy air or foam mattress. Also, it's unlikely that a helmet would be struck twice in the same area in one crash. You're supposed to replace a helmet after a crash in any event.

Gadgeteer
20th February, 2010 @ 05:18 pm PST

What people don't realize is that bicycle helmets are only designed to protect in collisions at up to 12mph, and even then the protection is limited. Perhaps this false sense of security partly explains why helmets don't actually work in practice when a whole population if forced to wear them?

Ian

gadgetmind
22nd February, 2010 @ 02:09 am PST

Although there doesn't appear to be any evidence to support the claim that cycle helmets do save lives, the evidence that they don't save lives, or even are harmful, is similarly lacking or circumstantial from what I have read. What is clear is that enforcing helmet use discourages people from cycling at all, thereby removing all the health benefits that are derived from getting people cycling in the first place.

That alone would seem to be an argument for making helmet-wearing a matter of choice, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is anything wrong with wearing a helmet, it's human behavior at fault there I think. That said even if helmets were optional (they are mandatory here in New Zealand) I think I would still wear one - I would wear a helmet while motorcycling, abseiling, whitewater rafting or working on a construction site so why wouldn't I wear one while cycling? Just seems sensible to me.

Nathan Griffiths
25th March, 2010 @ 08:10 pm PDT

The real danger with helmet laws are that they stop people riding bicycles. In most countries, the health benefits of riding far outweigh the collision risk.

Generally speaking - if left untreated - Helmet Hair Phobia increases you mortality rate by about 10%.

Robbie Price
2nd February, 2012 @ 11:36 am PST

Bull sh*t....

People use helmets as an excuse not to ride...

If you are a sikh, sure the Law makes exception for you... (can get a turban helmet I suppose) what other excuse do you have.... (especially now they have made disposable, foldable, adjustable multi fit helmets...

Ok helmets only offer (optimal) protection up to 12mph.... fine, well your car only offers (optimal) protection up to 30mph, does that mean that once you go over 30mph you take off your seat belt?? (stupid logic)

I think there are sectors of the community which would be better not wearing helmets, but that is just my personal preference (Darwinian) so I'm not going to tell people to wear one, BUT don't expect me to give you any more allowances than the usual speed hump when I am in my car, motorcycle, truck, or Just riding my pushbike a little faster than your helmet safe speed.

Speed doesn't kill, it is the sudden deceleration when the idiot who was speeding hits a stone wall/tree/(insert favourite obstacle).... (The helmet may help, then again it may not, but it won't kill you)

Life's too short to go slow.

MD
14th February, 2012 @ 04:13 am PST

The helmet design looks both nerdy and dorky.

James Ng
2nd March, 2012 @ 02:05 pm PST
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