The EcoHelmet, a recyclable, folded paper bicycle helmet, has won the James Dyson Award 2016. The award, run by the James Dyson Foundation, is given to the best international university invention, with a prize of $45,000 plus $7,500 for the university.
Designed by Isis Shiffer, the EcoHelmet was created for those using bike-sharing schemes that have been adopted by cities globally. Inspired by a trip around the world using bike-sharing services, the designer regularly encountered the problem of having no access to a helmet, but didn’t want to repeatedly pay for a new one.
Using a radial honeycomb paper structure, the helmet absorbs impact, protecting the cyclist’s head. It was tested at Imperial College in London in order to measure speed and impact for maximum safety. The helmet is additionally coated with a material that enables rain resistance for 3 – 4 hours.
Isis will use her prize money to develop the product, in which she hopes to develop a visible stripe that will indicate when the helmet ceases to work over time. This, she says, will help to gather further awareness of the helmet’s safety as well as help to convince an audience that the helmet can stand up alongside standard bike helmets.
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