Extraordinary paper cycling helmet wins James Dyson Award

By Kitty Knowles 17 November 2016

This paper helmet is cycling innovation at its best.

Paper isn’t the first material that springs to mind as a strong and sturdy material. It’s even more unlikely you’d associate it with road safety.

But one entrepreneur has used clever engineering to design the first ever paper cycling helmet – and she’s just won an esteemed James Dyson Award for her efforts.

The EcoHelmet

New Yorker Isis Shiffer is the brains behind the EcoHelmet, a cheap collapsable cycling helmet designed to protect those using city bike sharing schemes.

The unusual design is made from waterproofed recycled paper, and its unique honeycomb pattern can soften blows as effectively as a traditional helmets, says Shiffer.

“I do all my exploring by bike but I don’t like riding in those cities without a helmet,” said the Pratt Institute graduate. She’s not alone.

Further research revealed that almost 90 per cent of bike-share users don’t wear helmets, and most feel unsafe on the road.

Ms Shiffer hopes to sell helmets from vending machines for $5 per helmet. These can be reused a handful of times and will soon feature a colour-change stripe to the design to alerts cyclists when to discard it.


Elegant innovation

The James Dyson Award winner will receive £30,000 from to develop the concept and start her own consultancy business, Spitfire Industry, while Dyson himself has sung Shiffer’s praises:

“EcoHelmet solves an obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way,” he said.

In short, EcoHelmet is innovation at its best.

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