A folding bike helmet made of paper scoops the 2016 James Dyson Award


A designer has come up with a paper helmet for cyclists (Source: Dyson)

Occasional cyclists of London listen up, for designer Isis Shiffer has developed a helmet that you can whip out anytime, any place - and you can pop it in a handbag too.

A recyclable folding helmet has won the international James Dyson Award. How's it foldable? Well, it's made of paper. Yes, you heard that right.

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The EcoHelmet is designed for people who use bike-sharing schemes and might not always have a helmet with them.

While Shiffer says a paper helmet may well be a "tough sell", entrepreneur James Dyson is evidently sold on the idea.

She came up with the idea after using bike-sharing schemes across the world. Often those who opt for taking out a bike spur of the moment don't have a helmet. So she's designed a recyclable one that will cost less than $5. It has a honeycomb structure to protect the head.

She tested the idea at Imperial College's crash lab to see if the honeycomb configuration was viable and worth developing.

Isis Shiffer with James Dyson (Source: Dyson)

Dyson said the product addressed an obvious problem with a simplicity that "belies an impressive amount of research and development".

The James Dyson Foundation was set up in 2002 to support design engineering education, medical research and local charities in the UK.

Shiffer will receive £30,000 to develop the helmet and hopes to pilot it in New York in the spring, initially offering it free to bike-share users.

Runners up for the prize included:

  • Respia from Australia - an asthma management system that tracks and records the user's respiratory health and medication use
  • Smart Contact Lens Platform from Canada - a contact lens with a sensor that can continuously monitor glucose levels in diabetics using nanotechnology and state-of-the-art engineering

Both will receive £5,000.

The recyclable helmet will deteriorate over time, especially if you're prone to carrying it around at the bottom of a bag.

So the final development will likely have a visible stripe that wears off when it's time to throw away or a clip that stops working after a certain amount of time.


Tags: Dyson