When Anirudha Surabhi was a grad student at the Royal College of Art in London, he was in a bike accident. Even though it was a minor crash, and Surabhi was wearing an expensive helmet, the next day he learned that he had a concussion. He spent three days in the hospital. He wondered why the helmet hadn’t worked—and decided to explore the problem for his thesis project.
It turns out that bike helmets are not as safe as they’re portrayed to be. Over the last few decades, Surabhi says, some helmets have gotten more aerodynamic and better-looking, but they haven’t gotten any better at protecting us from injuries.
As he began working on his design, Surabhi looked at the anatomy of a woodpecker for inspiration. When a woodpecker slams its beak into the trunk of a tree, the impact is cushioned by a special micro-structure between the beak and head. By mirroring that structure—after testing 150 different materials—Surabhi was able to create a helmet that can withstand three times greater impact than a standard helmet.
Special cardboard ribs inside the helmet are designed for flexibility. The cardboard itself has a honeycomb structure filled with air pockets to provide more cushioning. It’s stronger than a standard helmet liner, and lighter.
It’s also greener than the ubiquitous polystyrene foam liners. Foam, unsurprisingly, is not great for the environment; the manufacturing process is a health hazard, and it also creates hazardous waste. It’s also more energy-intensive to produce than cardboard. Surabhi used 100 percent recycled cardboard, which he says takes no electricity to produce at all.
For the full design story, watch the video below. The helmet’s in production now, and Core77 reports that the first U.S. version of the helmet will be out next year through ABUS.
Images courtesy of Anirudha Surabhi
Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland, Oregon; where ~8% of commuters cycle to work. (via tasfromtas)
this street (dirk boutslaan) has even more bike parking!
about 3 car parking spaces’ worth in photo (not counting planters), then three motorcycle parking spaces, and up the block 3 more car parking spaces’ of bike parking! total 6 car spaces of bike parking! and there aren’t even cycle tracks on this street!
leuven, belgium. g.maps.
Charging an electric car at home
Electric cars can be charged with a 3-pronged outlet or a charging dock. The primary differences are charging time and cost.
You can spend $21,000 to over $40,000 to buy an all-electric car (some hybrid cars are both electric and gas-powered like the Volt), but how are they charged and what do you need to do to your home so you can accommodate your electric car?
on a BTU-per-passenger-mile basis. Passenger trains decrease U.S. dependency on foreign oil and reduce the emission of harmful pollutants into the air.
— material quoted from the National Association of Railroad Passengers (May 2012)