For those of our readers who ride bicycles, we hope you’re wearing a helmet when you do. However, according to helmet-designer Anirudha Rao, many of the helmets we’re currently wearing aren’t really the best. Rao has developed a helmet that not only fits better, but also protects better than a normal polystyrene helmet. The most interesting part of Rao’s design is the material it’s made out of: cardboard.
Hearing that a cardboard helmet is safer than a plastic helmet may sound crazy, but Rao said, when tested against the British Standards (EN 1078) at the Imperial College, Kranium actually absorbed four times the amount of impact energy when compared to the regular cycling helmets.
Though polystyrene has been used in helmets for decades, it doesn’t do a very good job at absorbing impact energy. It also distributes the impact energy all over your head. Kranium, on the other hand, is built to accommodate movement in some places and stay completely inflexible in others. So, if there is a crash, the force peak of the impact is absorbed by the helmet’s ribs which “flex and de-flex.” Rao said the remaining energy is then “absorbed by the crumpling nature of the corrugated ribs.”
The lightweight helmets also last longer. Most helmets are kaput after just one impact, whereas the Kranium can actually last up to five impacts.