Bike share schemes have become a feature of cities around the world from London to Taipei, but one feature that has been missing from most schemes is safety helmets. Now a foldable, recyclable, paper helmet, aimed at users of the bikes has won the prestigious international James Dyson Award for clever inventions.
The EcoHelmet, made from recycled paper, is woven into a honeycomb structure that protects the wearer’s head from impact from any direction. It is designed for anyone using bike-sharing schemes, or who maybe travelling and wanting to hire a bike, but who may not have access to protective head-wear.
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World-famous inventor Dyson praised it as an “incredibly elegant” solution to an “obvious problem”. The competition, which is open to university-level students or recent graduates, was won by design graduate, Isis Shiffer of the Pratt Institute of Design in New York, who won £30,000 for claiming top spot.
Isis said: “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. They had a European standard helmet crash set-up that allowed me to gather enough data on EcoHelmet’s proprietary honeycomb configuration to know it was viable and worth developing.”
The helmet is expected to sell for as little as £5 when it goes on sale. According to a 2016 study of 64,000 injured cyclists by the University of New South Wales in Australia, wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injury by almost 70%. Dyson added: “EcoHelmet solves an obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way. But its simplicity belies an impressive amount of research and development. I look forward to seeing EcoHelmets used in bike shares across the world.”