Kobi: Structuring New Approaches in Bicycle Helmet Design
Although the purpose of bicycle helmets is easily understood, many cyclists perceive them to be a nuisance. Everyday experiences that accompany wearing a helmet can often subdue the value of its intended safety function. Reviewing the developmental history of the helmet reveals a largely linear and conventional evolution. This raises the question: how can the design of bicycle helmets be readdressed in order to alter cyclists’ perceptions of helmets?
Expanded polystyrene foam has come to define the majority of helmets on the market today. Although it has been established as a standard, its characteristics impose certain limitations on the design of the object. With technology such as three-dimensional scanning and printing becoming more accessible, there are opportunities to research alternative methods of designing and manufacturing helmets.
By combining an emphasis on understanding the behaviours and needs of urban cyclists with the potential of new manufacturing processes, this project uncovers avenues for divergence within helmet design. Experimental material tests uncover the performance capabilities of additively manufactured structures, while the fit and functional components of helmets are explored to propose how new technologies and processes can complement one another.
In a country such as Australia, where it is mandatory for all cyclists to wear helmets, the helmet significantly influences how a person experiences the act of cycling. By challenging the conventions within helmet design, this research sheds light on how new technology could be utilised, and attempts to more positively influence the relationships cyclists have with their helmets.