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Folding, recyclable bicycle helmet wins international James Dyson Award

Published 17/11/2016

Inventor Isis Shiffer wearing her EcoHelmet (Dyson/PA)
Inventor Isis Shiffer wearing her EcoHelmet (Dyson/PA)

A folding, recyclable bicycle helmet that is also rain resistant has been named the 2016 international winner of the James Dyson Award.

The EcoHelmet is made from recycled paper that is woven into a honeycomb structure that protects the wearer's head from impact from any direction. It is also covered in a biodegradable coating that makes it water resistant for up to three hours.

It beat a wearable asthma management system and smart contact lenses that can measure glucose levels to the award.

The invention prize, which is open to university level students or recent graduates worth £30,000 to the winner, has been awarded to inventor Isis Shiffer, a graduate of the Pratt Institute of Design in New York, who said the helmet was aimed at bike share users.

"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," she said.

"They had a European standard helmet crash set-up that allowed me to gather enough data on EcoHelmet's proprietary honeycomb configuration to know it was viable and worth developing."

According to the Department for Transport, there were more than 3,200 serious injuries to cyclists on the roads in 2015. According to a 2016 study of 64,000 injured cyclists by the University of New South Wales in Australia, wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injury by almost 70%.

Ms Shiffer said the plan for the EcoHelmet was to sell them at bike share stations - such as those in London - for five dollars (£4) per helmet.

James Dyson, inventor and founder of the Dyson company said of this year's winner: "EcoHelmet solves an obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way.

"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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