It’s entirely made of waterproof recycled cardboard in a radial honeycomb pattern. After folding, it has the size and shape of a banana, which makes it easy to carry around. Moreover it fits most head sizes and works with the same efficiency of traditional polystyrene helmet. Feeling impressed? So was the James Dyson Foundation who announced Isis Shiffer, the EcoHelmet designer, the 2016 International Winner of the James Dyson Award in November.
“I was inspired to design EcoHelmet when I was travelling abroad. I wanted to use share bikes and I was quite uncomfortable riding on the road. I always wear a helmet and just not having an inexpensive option available made me think this is a big gap, I can’t be the only one” Schiffer tells about the origin of its idea. She explains the biggest innovation was to make the cells radial rather than parallel, as in regular honeycomb. That structure makes it resistant and absorbs blow from any direction. Numerous tests proved that it is as safe as plastic and foam helmets.
The extremely cheap production and the possibility to recycle, makes it perfect for bike sharing programs. Many people avoid biking in a city because of safety issues, if we provide them with easy and affordable solution they may change their mind. The use traditional materials to replace high-tech synthetics can mean shortening, localizing and decentralizing industrial supply chains.