Everyone knows that wearing a safety helmet is a critical part of cycling since a fall can result in anything from a tender bruise to outright death. So, we put helmets on and rarely give the matter more thought; however, industrial designer Isis Shiffer decided to give it more thought with the intent of increasing safety on the road.
Shiffer looked at the bike helmet with a critical eye and determined a few problems with the contemporary models on the market. Currently, helmets are quite expensive, the materials used to produce them don’t biodegrade or recycle, and their bulky nature makes them a pain to cart around. Her solution? EcoHelmet: a foldable and recyclable helmet made from paper and directed at bike share users.
A paper helmet might not sound terribly safe, but Shiffer’s innovative design relies on a honeycomb pattern that addresses the head from all angles, allowing it to absorb a blow from any direction. This should be reassuring for people hesitant to try bike share programs due to safety concerns or lack of desire to purchase and cart around a heavy, awkward helmet all day.
“I want to make things that A) make the world more beautiful and B) solve actual problems. And it is important too to step back and see like, ‘Wow, I am making things that go into the world and give people please or health benefits or ease of life.’”
It is no wonder she recently won the James Dyson Award for her work on the EcoHelmet. Her win allowed her to dedicate greater time and energy to developing a prototype that is affordable, sustainable, and functional while also working on other projects for her company, Spitfire. James Dyson is always on the lookout for bright, problem-solving minds, and Shiffer truly fits the bill. Join us as we follow Shiffer and her process from conception to manufacturing and learn how the EcoHelmet is poised to bring about real change for cyclists.
To learn more about the James Dyson Award, visit https://www.jamesdysonaward.org.