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Major Project Helmet

Adam ButterworthAdam Butterworth Posts: 9
edited April 2014 in Commuting chat
Hi my name is Adam im studying product design at the University of Northampton, im a final year student and as my major project I have chosen to re-design the bike helmet, below is a picture of what I have come up with it is a 3D printed frame that is precisely fitted to your head with airbag ribs connected to the outside that blow as a collision is occurs it also features a camera, built in google glass (with accident recognition to highlight dangers) and lights. The aim of this helmet is to make riding safer, helmets more desirable and with the aid of tech to prevent a crash before it happens.
Just wondering what you guys thought of my design?

Posts

  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    Why bikes? Concentrate on a dangerous sport where there is a need for PPE!
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    I think the user will end up with a fractured skull if the airbag deployed, regardless if their head hits anything and the weight of the various tech would mean it would be uncomfortable to wear and set up large rotational forces in the event of an off, leading to whiplash injuries.

    I don't like being so negative, but keep trying.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • Hi Adam,

    This looks like a cool design! It's nice to see a helmet thats incorporating some tech.

    Good luck with your project! :oops:
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    How are the airbags fired / powered? I have concerns about explosive devices on my head and the same goes for a centralised compressed gas supply. Also a gas cylinder may affect the centre of gravity of the helmet.

    Speaking of which, how much does it weigh and is the weight evenly distributed? I use a helmet mounted light (front and rear) in the winter and if it's not central mounted it pulls the helmet one way or the other on my head. Constantly having to adjust the position of your helmet (fnarr, fnarr) is a pain.

    Finally, I assume that the custom fitting is so that it fits your head precisely, but I wear a cap beneath my helmet when cycling, and in winter I wear a merino hat. Consequently I require an element of adjustability to cater for different thicknesses of fabric between head and helmet.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    I'm going to ignore the "safety" aspect as I think we'd differ on opinion ...

    Head size - does the head expand/contract? What about wearing extra garments for some of the time? An adjustable helmet helps with those differences.

    Built in Lights - not sure the worth of that TBH. headlights for offroading are more helpful, but on the road it's limited use. Rear lights - well, if they can't see the 3 on my rack then they're not looking!

    Built in camera - interesting idea, depends how it's implemented. something unobstrusive. Helmet cams don't always offer the best viewpoint though.

    Google glass - now that's interesting. In my idle thoughts I can see a desire to have the GPS data available in front of you without needing to look down.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 2,221
    Adam, what's the projected/designed weight?

    Come cyclists (weight weenies) are seriously concerned about the weight of every piece of kit.

    Also additional weight on the head could be uncomfortable for some.
    Felt F1 2014
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  • leeefmleeefm Posts: 260
    Looks like a really interesting design.

    Some cyclists (not me), like to consider the aerodynamic aspects of the helmet too.

    I think built-in lights is a good idea. Sometimes other road vehicles can obstruct the lights mounted on your bike. Having something on your helmet can help mitigate this, as normally a cyclists head is above the level of most cars.

    Good luck with your project!
    Shand Skinnymalinky
    Argon 18 Radon
  • EKE_38BPM wrote:
    I think the user will end up with a fractured skull if the airbag deployed, regardless if their head hits anything and the weight of the various tech would mean it would be uncomfortable to wear and set up large rotational forces in the event of an off, leading to whiplash injuries.

    I don't like being so negative, but keep trying.

    Hi man thanks for the reply, have you seen the Havding air bag helmet? (http://www.hovding.com/) it uses the same air bag technology and when deployed engulfs the users head so I think the user would be ok but would need testing, also this is just a conceptual design at the moment and the weight will need to be looked at and maybe some of the tech would have to be removed if it was to heavy.
  • asprilla wrote:
    How are the airbags fired / powered? I have concerns about explosive devices on my head and the same goes for a centralised compressed gas supply. Also a gas cylinder may affect the centre of gravity of the helmet.

    Speaking of which, how much does it weigh and is the weight evenly distributed? I use a helmet mounted light (front and rear) in the winter and if it's not central mounted it pulls the helmet one way or the other on my head. Constantly having to adjust the position of your helmet (fnarr, fnarr) is a pain.

    Finally, I assume that the custom fitting is so that it fits your head precisely, but I wear a cap beneath my helmet when cycling, and in winter I wear a merino hat. Consequently I require an element of adjustability to cater for different thicknesses of fabric between head and helmet.

    Hi man thanks for the reply, the air bags would be be linked into a sensor unit on the side of the helmet and would be fired using gas containers mounded under the air bags to try and keep the weight evenly distributed. Currently I don't know how much it would weigh and this will need to be looked at.

    And yes the idea of the fitting is that it is precisely fitted to your head so when on there should be no play in the helmet so will not rock, saying this it is adjustable so you can put it on and take it off, hopefully would be able to wear a hat underneath if you chose to.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    I think the user will end up with a fractured skull if the airbag deployed, regardless if their head hits anything and the weight of the various tech would mean it would be uncomfortable to wear and set up large rotational forces in the event of an off, leading to whiplash injuries.

    I don't like being so negative, but keep trying.

    Hi man thanks for the reply, have you seen the Havding air bag helmet? (http://www.hovding.com/) it uses the same air bag technology and when deployed engulfs the users head so I think the user would be ok but would need testing, also this is just a conceptual design at the moment and the weight will need to be looked at and maybe some of the tech would have to be removed if it was to heavy.
    I've seen the Hodving and I don't like that either: if you are going for a ride and want to feel the wind in your hair, I don't think you want to be wearing a heavy scarf. The same issue with explosives/gas cannisters applies.

    I like your attitude. Lots of students come on here looking for feedback on their design but seem totally fixed to their design and not at all willing to think about changing the design or accepting any criticism. You don't seem to be like that.

    Say 'Hi' if you see my niece who is at the same uni as you, studying teacher training.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • slowbike wrote:
    I'm going to ignore the "safety" aspect as I think we'd differ on opinion ...

    Head size - does the head expand/contract? What about wearing extra garments for some of the time? An adjustable helmet helps with those differences.

    Built in Lights - not sure the worth of that TBH. headlights for offroading are more helpful, but on the road it's limited use. Rear lights - well, if they can't see the 3 on my rack then they're not looking!

    Built in camera - interesting idea, depends how it's implemented. something unobstrusive. Helmet cams don't always offer the best viewpoint though.

    Google glass - now that's interesting. In my idle thoughts I can see a desire to have the GPS data available in front of you without needing to look down.

    Hi thanks for the reply, yes the helmet would be adjustable it breaks in the middle and can be moved back and forward to fit the head precisely. the lights were put in due to advise from a bike shop who told me commuters like brighter helmets, so i put the light in the front and the back this way you can be easily seen above cars and due to the design the lights would illuminate your head front and back giving the person looking at you a good idea of what direction you are going or looking. And the Google glass or other glass system this kind of goes hand in hand with the camera that would be needed for a glass system the idea of this is to assist in your vision possibly highlighting dangers such as pedestrians or cars turning in front of you and also yes could be linked in with a GPS system possibly on your phone.
  • elbowloh wrote:
    Adam, what's the projected/designed weight?

    Come cyclists (weight weenies) are seriously concerned about the weight of every piece of kit.

    Also additional weight on the head could be uncomfortable for some.

    Hi thanks for the reply i don't know the weight unfortunately but it would defiantly be heavier than current helmets but hopefully not to much, light materials would be used in the manufacture and due to the precise fitting hopefully would make it feel lighter. I was aware of the weight weenies as a shop owner pointed out to me "the more you pay the less you get" but i thought the extra tech you gain would combat the need for a super light helmet and this product is mainly aimed towards commuters.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    slowbike wrote:
    I'm going to ignore the "safety" aspect as I think we'd differ on opinion ...

    Head size - does the head expand/contract? What about wearing extra garments for some of the time? An adjustable helmet helps with those differences.

    Built in Lights - not sure the worth of that TBH. headlights for offroading are more helpful, but on the road it's limited use. Rear lights - well, if they can't see the 3 on my rack then they're not looking!

    Built in camera - interesting idea, depends how it's implemented. something unobstrusive. Helmet cams don't always offer the best viewpoint though.

    Google glass - now that's interesting. In my idle thoughts I can see a desire to have the GPS data available in front of you without needing to look down.

    Hi thanks for the reply, yes the helmet would be adjustable it breaks in the middle and can be moved back and forward to fit the head precisely. the lights were put in due to advise from a bike shop who told me commuters like brighter helmets, so i put the light in the front and the back this way you can be easily seen above cars and due to the design the lights would illuminate your head front and back giving the person looking at you a good idea of what direction you are going or looking. And the Google glass or other glass system this kind of goes hand in hand with the camera that would be needed for a glass system the idea of this is to assist in your vision possibly highlighting dangers such as pedestrians or cars turning in front of you and also yes could be linked in with a GPS system possibly on your phone.

    A break in the middle to expand won't allow you to expand it laterally. Also, you need some support on or under the curve of the back of the head in order to stop the helmet rotating forward towards the face. Well, you might not need such a mechanism as you might come up with something better, but you do need to address forward rotation.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • Yh I think the back of the helmet is low enough down that it hugs the curve of your head so that the helmet would not move forward, I am currently making a model that will potentially resolve that issue.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    Hmmmm. Surely car airbags work because there is a delay between the point at which the car starts hitting something and the person inside starts hitting bits of the crumpling car.

    If you come off your bike, chances are your rate of deceleration remains largely unchanged until the point that your head hits whatever it is going to hit. The first your head knows that there is going to be an accident is when it is hitting something. So how can an airbag deploy in time?

    As for the basic design - I wouldn't wear it looking like that. If the airbag failed to deploy for any reason then that design would offer no protection - the lateral ribs would be prone to dragging back on impact increasing significantly whiplash risk. Longitudinal ribs have a lot going for them.
    slowbike wrote:
    I'm going to ignore the "safety" aspect as I think we'd differ on opinion ...

    You'd have done a better job of ignoring the safety aspect by actually ignoring it........
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Rolf F wrote:
    Hmmmm. Surely car airbags work because there is a delay between the point at which the car starts hitting something and the person inside starts hitting bits of the crumpling car.

    If you come off your bike, chances are your rate of deceleration remains largely unchanged until the point that your head hits whatever it is going to hit. The first your head knows that there is going to be an accident is when it is hitting something. So how can an airbag deploy in time?

    Hi thanks for your reply, the airbag works by using a sensor in the helmet that detects unnatural movement then it sets of the air bag before you hit the ground this technology is currently being used in the Hovding helmet.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kZGTOLBvek
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 4,315
    Interesting thread.

    Define "unnatural movement". I tend to agree with the notion that your movement could well be perfectly serene and natural until you headbut a windscreen. I don't know whether the hoodvink (or whatever its called) is any better in this respect. To my mind, the only reliable way to make airbags work is with an accelerometer which triggers above a threshold. I'd take some convincing to believe that some algorithm could reliably filter out an unnatural movement from an otherwise identical natural movement.

    However... there are some good ideas here. Personalised fit, for one thing. With current helmets, you have to find one generally compatible with your own noggin. An insert system whereby you could print a custsomised insert for use with a generic outer would be very attractive I would have thought.

    Airbags - the naysayers with concerns about CO2 cannisters would probably be happy to use them to inflate a tyre, and they are already used in life jackets, so I don't see that as a concern. They are also light. So perhaps you can use airbags in a helmet somehow, if not for the whole thing. A drawback of current helmets, at least for road use, is protection in the temple and occipital regions is compromised in the interests of comfort and weight. Perhaps there is some way to incorporate small airbags to improve matters in those areas only?

    You have some good ideas, but not all of your ideas are good. That's my advice.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    Have you worn a lifejacket whilst inflating with CO2 ?
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 4,315
    No, but then I've not used a car airbag either. The point is that CO2 cannisters are well sorted technology not prone to exploding randomly. Hence, roadies are happy to store them in saddle packs, right near their testicles, during a ride.

    Next question.
  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    No, but then I've not used a car airbag either. The point is that CO2 cannisters are well sorted technology not prone to exploding randomly. Hence, roadies are happy to store them in saddle packs, right near their testicles, during a ride.

    Next question.

    No-one was worried about CO2 canisters exploding. I mentioned it because airbags were mentioned and they use an explosive propellant rather than compressed gas.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    No, but then I've not used a car airbag either. The point is that CO2 cannisters are well sorted technology not prone to exploding randomly. Hence, roadies are happy to store them in saddle packs, right near their testicles, during a ride.

    Next question.

    Not a question - I have tested a CO2 inflated lifejacket .... it's cold! (as you would expect). Not sure I'd want that intense cold around my head ...

    No problem with storing the CO2 canister - other than perhaps the perceived extra weight (what is it - 16g for a full tyre inflate - so this would be less)
  • Interesting thread.

    Define "unnatural movement". I tend to agree with the notion that your movement could well be perfectly serene and natural until you headbut a windscreen. I don't know whether the hoodvink (or whatever its called) is any better in this respect. To my mind, the only reliable way to make airbags work is with an accelerometer which triggers above a threshold. I'd take some convincing to believe that some algorithm could reliably filter out an unnatural movement from an otherwise identical natural movement.

    However... there are some good ideas here. Personalised fit, for one thing. With current helmets, you have to find one generally compatible with your own noggin. An insert system whereby you could print a custsomised insert for use with a generic outer would be very attractive I would have thought.

    Airbags - the naysayers with concerns about CO2 cannisters would probably be happy to use them to inflate a tyre, and they are already used in life jackets, so I don't see that as a concern. They are also light. So perhaps you can use airbags in a helmet somehow, if not for the whole thing. A drawback of current helmets, at least for road use, is protection in the temple and occipital regions is compromised in the interests of comfort and weight. Perhaps there is some way to incorporate small airbags to improve matters in those areas only?

    You have some good ideas, but not all of your ideas are good. That's my advice.

    Hey thanks for the post, as this is a conceptual idea and is still being designed feedback about the accelerometer trigger could be very helpful I also has doubts about the sensor unit imagining that if you bent over to tie you shoe it could go off.
    The great thing about airbags that are stored away is that until they are activated they are reasonably small but once inflated can be much bigger and like you pointed out protect much more of the head and even the neck, I do like they idea of possibly adding airbags to a conventional helmet design for increased protection.
  • slowbike wrote:
    No, but then I've not used a car airbag either. The point is that CO2 cannisters are well sorted technology not prone to exploding randomly. Hence, roadies are happy to store them in saddle packs, right near their testicles, during a ride.

    Next question.

    Not a question - I have tested a CO2 inflated lifejacket .... it's cold! (as you would expect). Not sure I'd want that intense cold around my head ...

    That'd be due to the expansion of the gas from the cannister to the bag, the Joule-Thomson effect (used to produce liquid gases industrially), followed by gas is doing work to expand the bag, which reduces it's enthalpy (internal heat energy). A car airbag doesn't use explosive as such, but do rely on a vigourous exothermic chemical reaction to generate the expanding gases.

    Adam, further to earlier comments, you'd want to be specific about what level of protection the structure is intended to give (probably just falling off the bike as per current designs) and what level the airbag systems give. This should help determine the trigger conditions.

    I'd also think long and hard about charging, battery life and low power indication. Presumably the airbag monitor/trigger system will require power, and would want a reserve beyond the rest of the kit as it is the primary safety system. How this is controlled (whether by the software under Android in the Glass or at a deeper firmware level) is something to consider. However you deal with this, it will also need some sort of low power draw indication (small LED?) when it is on reserves so that the wearer knows when the reserves are gone and they no longer have the airbag system available. The lights might also want to be prioritised over the HUD, but as this is a matter of judgement as they should be additional to bike-mounted lights, not the primary lighting system. Battery life is one of the biggest sticking points for mobile/wearable electronics, but I'd imagine batteries could be incorporated through the structure of the helmet, perhaps some of the cool new thin film Li-ion cells. I understand they have many more recharging cycles than tradition Li-ion or Li-poly cells, important if batteries are not going to be user replaceable and drawing a lot of power (Google glass, lights) every day. You'll have microUSB I assume, but if weight considerations allow an inductive charging system might be worth thinking about; the helmet could charge just by hanging on its hook.

    As I assume you've got accelerometers built in for either the airbag trigger, the Glass or both, you may want to consider have the rear light acting as a brake light, turning on or brightening when the bike slows down. However, as other road users won't expect brake lights on the head it is debatable whether that's a good idea.

    Finally, Glass uses bone conduction head phones, which is easy on spectacles which have arms going past the ears; will the helmet extend down to the relevant bones (whichever they may be - dammit Jim, I'm an engineer, not a doctor) or will there be something extend down towards the ear?
  • BigLightsBigLights Posts: 464
    This is interesting as a concept. For what it's worth, I reckon you could easily put very small cameras or sensors round the outside and set the airbags to go off with a proximity sensor, as opposed to unnatural movement. I mean, what happens if you sneeze, for example? Or if a mate pats you on the head a bit aggressively?

    The other question I have is, with an airbag, how do you avoid breaking your neck on the bounce? It would need to deflate quite quickly on impact. I saw a project like this a while ago, someone had designed an airbag suit for motorcyclists, which was an excellent idea until they tested it and watched the poor bloke go bouncing down the runway for miles like the michelin man.....which, if it happened on a motorway, would mean you're going across the reservation and into oncoming traffic. Funny to watch the demo though.

    I also think the built in camera is an excellent idea, but actually I like the idea of the camera being visible, not super integrated, as I think that seeing a camera is in ittself a deterrent to abusive drivers. So, something that makes it obvious that there is a camera would be a winner for me.
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