The James Dyson Award, launched in 2007, is an international design award that celebrates products invented by university students. It seeks to commend young designers, especially those who inspire others with their innovations.
This year, a cycling helmet made entirely of paper and costing just £4 has been awarded the top prize. The EcoHelmet is made from waterproofed recycled paper that is woven into a “honeycomb” pattern. The helmet is said to absorb impact from any direction as effectively as traditional polystyrene and can be folded flat for easy storage.
Recent figures reveal that almost 90% of city bike share users don’t wear helmets. It was the brand’s aim to address and provide a solution to this. Designed to give cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely in the city, the inexpensive helmet is easy to use, easy to store, can be purchased on site and can be recycled at the end of the ride.
EcoHelmet is the brain child of young designer, Isis Shiffer. She’s a 28-year-old designer, master’s graduate and bike enthusiast from New York and came up with the idea after using city bike-hire schemes. Alongside creating the EcoHelmet, Shiffer also founded Spitfire Industry — a design consultancy based in Brooklyn that focuses on sustainability and transportation.
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While the helmet has undergone vigorous crash testing, before the brand can put it on the market it has to pass the tests necessary to be CPSC certified — just like every other bike helmet. Once this is complete, the team plan to launch the helmet in 2017.