Safer Helmets

Tech Shorts January 23, 2009 0
Riding a snowmobile, though an exhilarating experience, can be a very dangerous sport. Riding a street bike could even be worse, because not everyone...

Riding a snowmobile, though an exhilarating experience, can be a very dangerous sport. Riding a street bike could even be worse, because not everyone wears a helmet, and they crash on pavement. Most fatalities caused by riding accidents are caused severe trauma to the brain and the bleeding which follows. Trauma to the brain could be reduced with the help of a scientifically designed helmet which protects the skull region from injuries, for example, when you fall off the back of a bike or sled.


Scientists at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Karolinska Institutet (KI), have developed a technology called the Multidirectional Impact Protection System (MIPS). MIPS helmets can protect a user by up to 40% better than a conventional helmet.
The helmet itself is inspired by the brain’s protecting system and a dual layer structure compensates for the rotation of the brain when an oblique impact takes place. When a rider falls and there is an impact to the head, a low friction layer in the helmet detaches and enables for the absorption of energy from the impact and protects his/her head from injury. Syntes Studio has helped the scientists design the product and it also features a ventilating system. Since it combines medical science and technology with market oriented production, it could achieve good success. Currently it is aimed at non-motorized applications like bicycles and horseback riding, but the logic is sound and could easily be applied to motorized helmets, as well.

Technology derived
from nature

The idea behind the patent was inspired by the brain’s own protection system. When the skull receives an oblique impact, the brain slides in the cerebrospinal fluid, which reduces the rotational force. This is the protective system that the engineers used as a model to develop the MIPS system. If you fall off and hit your head, a low-friction layer located between the outer and inner shells of the MIPS helmet becomes detached. This enables the outer shell to slide against the low-friction layer, absorbing the energy from jolts and impacts and protecting your head from injury as far as possible.
The combination of hi-tech and medical know-how in combination with commercially viable design makes this helmet a unique Swedish product. The ambition is to spread this paradigm shifting patent throughout the whole helmet industry. The “MIPS inside” indicating system will be seen on several other kinds of helmets in the near future.

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