- Title: EcoHelmet is a foldable, recyclable helmet for bike share
- Date: 18th November 2016
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 18, 2016) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ECOHELMET INVENTOR, ISIS SHIFFER, SAYING: "It started when I was doing study abroad and riding around in unfamiliar cities, and it occurred to me that if I wanted a helmet to go with a bike share or bike rental, I'd either have to buy one for $30 (USD) or more, carry one around with me, which is awkward, or just not have a helmet, which is a little nerve-wracking in a place you're not familiar with." SHIFFER UNFOLDING ECOHELMET PROTOTYPE
- Embargoed: 3rd December 2016 19:54
- Keywords: EcoHelmet Isis Shiffer James Dyson award bike helmet bicycle helmet honeycomb design
- Location: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / UNIDENTIFIED FILM LOCATIONS
- City: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / UNIDENTIFIED FILM LOCATIONS
- Country: USA
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA00358Z440R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A recent industrial design graduate from Brooklyn, New York has invented a paper bicycle helmet she hopes will be used by bike hire schemes in major cities.
"EcoHelmet is a foldable, recyclable helmet for bike share," said EcoHelmet inventor Isis Shiffer. "It unfolds into a full-sized helmet. It uses paper honeycomb to absorb impact and it's meant to be very, very inexpensive and available along with bike share bikes."
New York City's bike share program Citi Bike and similar systems in cities like London, Paris, Washington, Berlin, and Montreal, have proved increasingly popular with occasional cyclists who can, on a whim, rent a bicycle from various docking stations across the city.
An arguable downside to most bike shares is that helmets aren't offered, so unless they have already brought their own, bike renters are forced to ride with their heads unprotected.
"It started when I was doing study abroad and riding around in unfamiliar cities, and it occurred to me that if I wanted a helmet to go with a bike share or bike rental, I'd either have to buy one for $30 (USD) or more, carry one around with me, which is awkward, or just not have a helmet, which is a little nerve-wracking in a place you're not familiar with," said Shiffer.
The EcoHelmet, devised by Pratt Institute design graduate Isis Shiffer, offers an eco-friendly, inexpensive, alternative.
The helmet is made from cardstock that Shiffer said was made from the same material as butcher paper, but much, much thicker.
"It really started with trying to come up with a material that was recyclable and also absorbed impact really well because if you're going to make something that is limited use and inexpensive, you can't have it go into a landfill, it has to have as small a footprint as possible. And that's a problem with polystyrene helmets - even the really cheap ones - they don't biodegrade, you can't recycle them, they just sit there looking like a polystyrene helmet forever," she said.
The protective headgear may look a little flimsy because it's made out of paper, but Shiffer tested it repeatedly in a crash rig and it withstood the impact.
"Just doing research, paper seemed like a really good option because it's incredibly good at absorbing crashes," Shiffer continued. "I was just looking at different types of material configurations that absorb impact and honeycomb is really, really good at it. This particular honeycomb, which I came up with, at least I haven't been able to find it anywhere else, I wish I had then these would be in production now. Regular honeycomb it's parallel cells and these are radial so that when it's on it protects from the front, side, back, all directions because each cell is normal to the head."
The EcoHelmet is intended for short periods of use. After use it can be reused or recycled. Shiffer plans to coat her invention in a waterproof substance to make the helmet resistant to rain.
The designer says the helmets could be sold for $5 (USD) each or under from vending machines or local stores, because each helmet is so cheap to produce.
Shiffer is hoping the EcoHelmet will be available to the public in spring or summer of 2017.
The EcoHelmet just won the James Dyson Award for design and innovation, with a $45,000 grant going to Shiffer.
More information can be found at jamesdysonaward.org and jamesdysonfoundation.com.
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