By Nigel Wynn
A fold-away, recyclable waterproof paper bicycle helmet has won the International James Dyson Award in recognition of its design and innovation.
The EcoHelmet was conceived by New York Pratt Institute of Design graduate Isis Shiffer, and features a radial honeycomb design that can be neatly folded away. It is claimed to offer the same level of protection as a regular polystyrene helmet.
"I was lucky enough to be studying at Royal College of Art and the Imperial College of London for a semester, and was granted access to Imperial’s crash lab," said Shiffer.
"They had a European standard helmet crash setup that allowed me to gather enough data on EcoHelmet’s proprietary honeycomb configuration to know it was viable and worth developing."
The helmet uses paper coated with a biodegradable waterproofing, that Shiffer says will resist rain for up to three hours.
All of the helmet's component parts are recyclable, and cheap to manufacture making it ideal for use at bike share stations, such as London's Cycle Hire. Each helmet could cost the user only around $5 (around £4) and one size will fit all users.
Shiffer will receive £30,000 as part of the award to use in developing the helmet further.
The award is part of the James Dyson Foundation's work, spearheaded by the British designer and inventor.
"EcoHelmet solves an obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way," said Dyson. "But its simplicity belies an impressive amount of research and development. I look forward to seeing EcoHelmets used in bike shares across the world."
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