Paper bike helmet wins Dyson award – BBC News

Image copyright Dyson
Image caption Sir James Dyson tried out the helmet

A recyclable, folding cycling helmet made of newspaper has won this year’s international James Dyson Award.

The EcoHelmet is designed for people who use bike-sharing schemes and might not always have a helmet with them.

Designer Isis Shiffer is delighted with the win but admits that a paper helmet may be a “tough sell”.

She describes herself as an “ardent but slow” cyclist and came up with the idea when she was using bike-sharing schemes around the world.

Image copyright Dyson
Image caption The helmet folds up, building it easier to carry around

“When I was exploring new cities I had no access to a helmet and I didn’t wishes to expend $30 buying one, ” she told the BBC.

She decided to design one, made of cheap, recyclable materials that would expense less than $5.

The helmet utilizes a honeycomb structure to protect the head which, according to Ms Shiffer, is “incredibly good at assimilating impact”.

The design was tested at Imperial College in London.

“They have a test rig for helmets and the prof in charge of the lab let me test out a lot of materials. It turns out it was a lot of fun. There is a frame with an anvil on the bottom and an accelerometer to measure speed and impact, ” explained Ms Shiffer.

“It is so solid and everyone who had held it in their hands is astounded about how solid it is, ” she said.

The helmet is coated with training materials that makes it rain resistant for between three to four hours.

Media captionIsis Shiffer has won the international James Dyson Award .

She admitted that it may be a “tough sell” persuading people that it works.

Since 2002, the James Dyson Award has been is accessible to university or recent design graduates across the world.

Ms Shiffer will receive 30,000 to further develop the helmet. Describing it as “the holy grail” of design awards, she said that she was “astonished” to win it.

She hopes to pilot the new helmet in New York in the spring, maybe offering it free to bike-share users at first.

The helmet is designed for a limited number of uses and will degenerate and weaken over day, especially if carried around at the bottom of a container. The final design is likely to have a visible stripe that will wear off when it is time to throw it away or a clip that ceases to work after a certain amount of time.

The UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said it was unable to comment as it did not know enough about the product and whether it is possible fulfill safety standards.

The two runners-up for the award were Respia, an Australian group that has designed an asthma management system that tracks and records user’s respiratory health; and a smart contact lens designer from Canada. Each will receive a award of 5, 000.

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