The UK's Industrial Design Consultancy has developed a new motorcycle helmet with somewhat gruesome-sounding biomimetic influences: The outer shell of the helmet mimics the action of skin stretched over a skull, which is to say, the outer layer can move and stretch across the surface of the harder inner layer upon impact. Why?
Managing director of IDC, Stephen Knowles, explains, "Traditionally, motorcycle helmets have been rigid in design. We needed to introduce a dynamic element of movement to dramatically reduce the rotational impact which often causes life-threatening injuries. On impact, the outer membrane is able to stretch and slide over the main helmet shell to prevent these dangerous rotational forces being transmitted to the head and brain.
...The revolutionary product design required careful selection of materials. A strong synthetic sits on top of the gel-like lubricant to form a protective layer across the surface of the helmet. State-of -the-art vacuum casting was used to create prototypes and the materials tested for resistance and strength. The chosen synthetic stretched up to eight times its original length.
Called the SuperSkin, the helmet may not look like much in the photo above, but the outer membrane can apparently be painted in patterns and designs as well as a regular helmet casing. Lazer Helmets will begin selling the SuperSkin this summer.