The Kranium cardboard cycle helmet - strong, recyclable and yes, waterproof (+ videos)

Manufacturers license London design student's new take on the lid which could benefit bike hire schemes

by Simon_MacMichael   June 27, 2011  

Kranium Cycle Helmet.jpg

A London design student has devised a cycle helmet based on a cardboard frame that he claims is able to absorb four times the impact of a standard helmet while also being recyclable. Anirudha Rao believes that as well as providing greater protection for cyclists who own their own bikes, the helmet – called the Kranium – could also prove useful to operators of bike hire schemes.

Rao, a postgraduate student at the Royal College of Art, unveiled the helmet made its debut at the London Cycle Show last October, and has been developed with the help of a £20,000 grant from the James Dyson Foundation.

The designer says: “The ribs of the structure have been designed to accommodate movement in some places where as it remains perfectly rigid in some areas. Thus during a crash the force peak of the impact is absorbed by the ribs tending to flex and de-flex. The remaining amount of energy is then absorbed by the crumpling nature of the corrugated ribs.”

Carlton Reid of the trade focused website BikeBiz filmed Rao talking about his invention at the Cycle Show last autumn, and there's also a video from Bike Republic that shows the Kranium being subject to a drop test together with a standard, off-the-shelf helmet.

An acrylic compound renders the cardboard waterproof, and it can be adjusted to provide an exact, snug fit to the wearer’s head.

As for bike share schemes, which have struggled in Australia for example due to the compulsory helmet laws there, Rao hopes that a quick assembly version of the helmets might be sold via vending machines and recycled after use.

The Independent reports that the Kranium has already been licensed by several cycle helmet manufacturers, bringing it a step closer to be seeing on the streets some time soon.
 

5 user comments

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Great to see someone exploring materials other than expanded polystyrene foam for bicycle helmets. Polystyrene is hard in compression and cracks under impact. There must be materials out there that can do a better job than polystyrene did for Wouter Weyland or Mauricio Soler in their recent crashes.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1376 posts]
27th June 2011 - 11:21

6 Likes

It'd need to be covered in plastic though - wouldn't want as much protection as a damp cardboard box after a rainstorm.

I have heard of this before. Some motorcycle helmet manufacturers are taking a serious look at this particular cycle helmet as it happens.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2302 posts]
27th June 2011 - 11:34

6 Likes

cat1commuter wrote:
There must be materials out there that can do a better job than polystyrene did for Wouter Weyland or Mauricio Soler in their recent crashes.

Wouter's injury was to a part of his head not covered by a helmet. The same applied to Casartelli in his fatal crash.

Chuffy's picture

posted by Chuffy [190 posts]
27th June 2011 - 14:01

3 Likes

Chuffy wrote:
cat1commuter wrote:
There must be materials out there that can do a better job than polystyrene did for Wouter Weyland or Mauricio Soler in their recent crashes.

Wouter's injury was to a part of his head not covered by a helmet. The same applied to Casartelli in his fatal crash.

Not that those facts will stop the venal from using them as arguments for compulsory lids.

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [566 posts]
27th June 2011 - 15:06

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Wouter's injury was to a part of his head not covered by a helmet. The same applied to Casartelli in his fatal crash.

I'm sorry to hear about this accident, but this sort of proves that unprotected cranial areas are vulnerable to trauma, doesn't it?

Not that those facts will stop the venal from using them as arguments for compulsory lids.

venal |ˈvēnl|
adjective
"showing or motivated by susceptibility to bribery"

Are you really suggesting that all helmet advocates are on the take?

Get a dictionary, then get a helmet to protect your vocabulary vault (had many discussions with aphasics?).

posted by Viro Indovina [79 posts]
29th June 2011 - 13:29

5 Likes