Ingenious Bike Helmet Designs for the Helmet Haters

The necessity yet utter inconvenience of wearing and carrying around a bike helmet has always posed an interesting design challenge - creating a helmet that is light, compact and ideally unnoticeable, but is at the same time capable of protecting your head from serious impact. 

One solution we've featured at Big Think before, is the "invisible" bike helmet created by the Swedish studio Hövding which in its normal state appears like a fashionable scarf/collar. 

While its design and shock absorption are truly outstanding, the helmet is very expensive and like airbags (which it very much resembles) is single use - once activated during impact, it cannot be used again.

Less easy on the eyes, but just as easy to carry and much, much more affordable is the EcoHelmet - the winner of this year's international James Dyson Award. The helmet is, surprisingly, made out of paper and folds to the size of a banana, which transforms it into a very light and compact object. 

The burning question, obviously, is - can it protect your head. The designer, Isis Shiffer, told the BBC that she has done crash tests on it, and the helmet is pending to be certified for sale as a safety device. According to her, the honeycomb structure is "incredibly good at absorbing impact" and you can watch some of that in action in the following video.

The inspiration for the helmet came from Shiffer's travels and use of bike sharing schemes in different cities. She hated not having a helmet while traveling and observed that most bike share users don't wear one either. This is why she specifically conceived the helmet to be cheap (less than $5), convenient to buy next to bike stands (let's say from a helmet vending machine) and easy to recycle once the cyclist no longer wants to use or carry it. 

Shiffer emphasizes that while the helmet has been crash tested, it is not designed for long-term use, especially if it has rolled around the bottom of a bag for weeks. She is, however, working on a similar honeycomb foldable concept made of different materials in order to have a permanent-use model.

As international winner of the James Dyson Award 2016, Shiffer will be awarded $45,000 to further develop her invention. She plans to debut the design in New York in the summer.  

Photo: EcoHelmet

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Keep reading Show less