Custom helmet brand Hexr has launched a new smartphone app that allows customers to 3D scan their heads at home in advance of getting a bespoke helmet made.
Hexr says its new fitting app, which uses the latest methods in Machine Vision to capture over 250,000 data points of a customer’s head shape, gives 600 million people around the world access to its custom-made helmets – which it also claims are 26 per cent more likely to reduce brain injury than a standard foam helmet thanks to a cellular structure.
>>> The best road cycling helmets: buyer's guide (opens in new tab)
Previously the only option for Hexr customers was to book a scan at one of its retail partners' premises, but Hexr says the transformation of shopping habits in 2020 sped up the development of a safer fitting system that could easily be operated at home with the help of a friend or family member.
When customers place an order, Hexr sends a special fitting cap with a metal tag at the front, which the app detects and uses for calibration. A translucent dome then appears around the head, which is gradually ‘painted’ green by the person operating the app, who moves the smartphone around the cap-wearer’s head until the entire dome is green. A Vimeo tutorial guides customers through the process.
Hexr manually reviews the data and sends it back to the customer to view. It includes metrics such as head size, weight and percentile. The data is then sent to a 3D printing factory in the UK to be made into a helmet, assembled, quality checked and delivered within five weeks. Throughout the process, customers can check the status of their order through the app.
Henry Neilson, co-founder of Hexr, said: "2020 has been a unique year for us at Hexr, as it has for many. The rapid transformation of what is possible and necessary for safe commerce has borne some of the world’s most advanced 3D capturing software, neatly wrapped in a beautiful and intuitive interface. I am immensely proud of the Hexr team who have built this, making custom available to millions, and further challenging the limits of existing technology."
Hexr launched in 2018 as the world’s first maker of bespoke helmets (opens in new tab), using a honeycomb construction that it says was independently tested using the same method that validated MIPS (opens in new tab). Compared to the largest available data of tested bicycle helmets, Hexr says its helmet was found not only to supply a 26 per cent lower risk of brain injury compared with foam helmets, but it also had a 30 per cent improvement in rotational velocity, acceleration and linear acceleration.
Hexr also claims to build the most sustainable bicycle helmet on the market, using a plant-based material called Polyamide-11, which is made from 100 per cent castor bean oil. This is sourced supporting sustainable farming practices, fair treatment of workers and reducing water use.
And finally, Hexr says the helmet’s outer shell is sculpted with insight from TotalSim, British Cycling’s aerodynamics partner for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and claims it’s seven seconds faster than the Giro Aether (opens in new tab) and Kask Protone (opens in new tab) at 200W over a 40km time trial.
The Hexr helmet costs £299, which is £40 more expensive than the Giro Aether and £100 more than the Kask Protone, and there’s a time trial helmet called the Hexr Track Concept, which costs £749.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
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