The cardboard nutcase

Could a bicycling helmet made of cardboard protect your cranium just as well or better than that cool, multi-vented, aerodynamic polystyrene job you paid 150 bucks for?
Industrial designer Anirudha Surabhi Rao thinks so, and he has a video to prove it.
The recent graduate of London’s Royal College of Art developed for his final school project a sturdy, recyclable bicycle helmet made of cardboard. The idea won a 20,000-pound grant in 2010 from the James Dyson Fellowship, which aims to foster innovation by supporting talented Royal College of Art designers. Rao is now seeking production partners.
Expanded polystyrene, a slightly harder version of the white foam used to make cheap ice chests and packing material, has also been used for decades in bicycle helmets to absorb the shock of a blunt impact. But Rao says his helmet, called the Kranium, does a much better job of protecting a cyclist’s head in a crash.
When the Kranium was tested against polystyrene helmets made to British standards, Rao says, his cardboard helmet absorbed four times more impact energy than the conventional helmets.
“The ribs of the structure have been designed to accommodate movement in some places, whereas it remains perfectly rigid in some areas,” Rao says.
“Thus during a crash the force peak of the impact is absorbed by the ribs tending to flex and de-flex. The remaining amount of energy is then absorbed by the crumpling nature of the corrugated ribs.”
The cardboard ribs are treated with a waterproof acrylic compound and then encased in a plastic outer layer so it won’t fall apart in a rainstorm. Also, the custom-made Kraniums ensure a perfect fit because the customer’s head is scanned and made to those exact measurements.
Take a look at the video and judge for yourself.



Filed under Environment, Products, Urban cycling

2 responses to “The cardboard nutcase

  1. Dale Armstrong

    Nutcase? Isn’t that for protecting the other end, Jim?

  2. Perfect, test and my helmet?


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