London Student's Foldable Bike Helmet Wins £30,000 James Dyson Design Award

By James O Malley on at

A foldable, and recyclable bike helmet has won this year's prestigious James Dyson design award, it has been announced.

The EcoHelmet has a unique honeycomb shape, which gives it strength when atop your head and will distribute any impact evenly across your skull - but it can easily be folded up, so you don't have to carry a helmet around with you all day. It's the brainchild of Isis Shiffer, a recent graduate from the Pratt Institute of Design in New York City, who wanted to make a helmet that could be easily used by her city's equivalent of the Boris Bike sharing scheme.

It won't last forever - but it will last about 3 hours in the rain and then biodegrade safely. It's cheap to produce too - Shiffer says she intends to sell them for $5 (£4) a go at bike stands around New York.

Describing how she invented it, Shiffer says that “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. They had a European standard helmet crash setup that allowed me to gather enough data on EcoHelmet’s proprietary honeycomb configuration to know it was viable and worth developing.”

As winner of the prize, which is open to university students and recent graduates, she saw off 962 competing entries from 22 countries - and as a prize she gets £30,000 from James Dyson to further development of her design.

Two runners up - an asthma management system for runners called Respia, which records health and medical use, and a smart contact lens for monitoring glucose level for diabetics - both receive £5000 too.