Foldable bike helmet made from recycled paper wins innovation award
Image credit: PA
A waterproof, foldable bicycle helmet made of recycled paper has won the 2016 James Dyson Award.
Despite being made from the soft material, the helmet provides protection to the wearer’s head from impact from all directions thanks to a honeycomb-like design.
The paper used in the EcoHelmet is coated with a water-resistant biodegradable film, which provides protection from rain for three hours.
The helmet’s creator, Isis Shiffer - a graduate of the Pratt Institute of Design in New York - envisions the foldable helmets could be sold for $5 at shared bicycle racks.
“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,” said Shiffer, who received a £30,000 prize for her invention.
“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.”
According to the Department for Transport, there were more than 3,200 serious injuries to cyclists on the roads in 2015. 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 per cent.
The helmet beat entries from all over the world, including a wearable asthma management system and smart contact lenses that can measure glucose levels.
“EcoHelmet solves an obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way,” inventor James Dyson said about the winning entry.
“Its simplicity belies an impressive amount of research and development. I look forward to seeing EcoHelmets used in bike shares across the world.”