In the introduction to our ongoing series on helmets, we discussed the origins of our current helmet safety standards, and how that landscape is changing based on new research. If you’re not already an expert, give it a quick read. In this second part of our series, we’re highlighting six technologies that are taking new approaches to solving the shortcomings of current helmet designs.
MIPS, short for multidirectional impact protection system was created in 2001 and uses a lower friction layer positioned between the head and the helmet to allow the helmet to rotate during an impact to help reduce rotational forces. This is the most widely adopted technology on the market today for reducing rotational forces, although it does have some detractors. Read our interview with the MIPS CEO Johan Thiel and to learn more visit www.mips.technology.
In order to address low, middle, and high speed impacts, as well as manage rotational forces, 6D employs hour glass shaped elastomers interspersed between two shells. Think of these elastomers as being progressive rate springs that can dampen softer impacts or ramp to help handle high speed hits. These elastomers can also sheer in any direction to help reduce rotational forces. This is a unique approach that has been readily adopted by many elite supercross racers. The downside to the technology is that it ads additional weight and increases the volume of the helmets significantly, and that’s before we start talking about how much the helmets cost. 6D has a wealth of information posted on their website, including the famous Blowing the Lid Off article, which caused Motorcyclist Magazine to fire three decades long veteran Dexter Ford due to advertiser controversy. If you haven’t heard of it before, consider it a must read. For more info visit www.6dhelmets.com.
Non-Foam Based Liners/Koroyd
According to the Bicycle Helmet Institute, plastic liners like Koroyd offer huge promise for the future of helmet development because they can be tuned for lower speed impacts while still offering protection for harder hits. The first non-foam based helmets were used for lacrosse and football starting in 2007, but Smith brought the technology to bicycle helmets in 2014. For more info on Koroyd visit www.smithoptics.com and www.koroyd.com.