Recyclable helmet from a vending machine. Are we in the future?
28-year-old industrial designer and a regular bike renter Isis Shiffer was tired of lugging around her own helmet, so she took matters into her own hands. Called the EcoHelmet, Shiffer created a unique foldable helmet designed to be purchased from a vending machine at a bikeshare station.
"You could buy a helmet for $5 or less, and when you're done with the ride, you'd put it back in a recycle bin located at each station,".
The eco-friendly bike helmet is made from cardstock paper and folds to the size of a banana. While the eco-friendly bike helmet is made from cardstock paper and folds to the size of a banana. The material that's thinner than cardboard might not sound like a solid way to protect yourself while biking, it's designed to do just that. It protects the head just as well as a regular polystyrene helmet.
The EcoHelmet features a radial honeycomb pattern that absorbs a hard blow and spreads impact evenly around the head. The paper is coated with a corn-based biodegradable wax that makes it waterproof -- the same kind that coats disposable coffee cups.
The EcoHelmet is just a concept design for now, it generated buzz after nabbing the 2016 James Dyson Award and beat out 99 other U.S. entries. The international design contest, run by the James Dyson Foundation, is open to students and recent graduates who have designed a product or concept to solve a problem.
To ensure safety, Shiffer tested it by using a crash testing rig. "We dropped 10 pounds of weight from three feet and it withstood the impact. U.S. federal safety standards require a bike helmet to protect the wearer's head from an impact that's equivalent to a 6-1/2 foot drop. "We're now doing more rigorous testing to get it certified to that standard for use in the U.S.," she added.
Shiffer is currently meeting with potential partners and investors to officially launch the helmet. The goal is to start manufacturing the product -- ultimately in various colors -- and offer them through bikeshare services.