A recyclable helmet inspired by woodpeckers has come out of prototype to be a real product. Designed by Anirudha Surabhi, the Kranium may arrive in the U.S. in 2013, according to Urban Velo.
Surabhi was inspired to design a helmet after a low-speed bicycle accident that left him with a concussion, even though he was wearing a helmet (it broke on . Surabhi searched for ways to make a safer helmet, and took inspiration from the woodpecker, one of the only animals that experiences severe head impacts on a regular basis. The woodpecker's beak and skull are joined together, Surabhi notes, by a corrugated cartilage structure that helps soften impact.
Instead of the standard EPS (extruded polystyrene) the helmet liner is made from laser-cut pieces of recycled, dual-density honeycomb board - which is created from paperboard. The liner is 15% lighter than an EPS board, which reduces the potential carbon footprint of the helmet.
The honeycomb of the liner is designed to allow flexing, which helps absorb impact, and the tiny air pockets also take some of the impact forces. Due to the liner's ability to take more crushing force (8 millimeters versus 2 millimeters for an EPS liner) it can also be skinnier.
The first implementation of Surabhi's design is being distributed by Abut, the lock company, as the Ecolution.
As to the helmet's looks - well, I'd prefer the Swedish 'invisible' Hövding, but doubt I'll ever spend $500 on bike headgear.