The problem – The helmet is designed to reduce head injuries from impacts. Currently football concussions are most publicized but these happen in other sports, in casual use (bicycles), in business (construction), and public use (firefighters).
How it works – Two concentric shells similar to current helmets are positioned to create an open area between. This allows the placement of insertable elastomers that are designed to decelerate impacts or promote their deflection. The length of space between them creates the deceleration distance. Being elastomeric they have 6 degrees of freedom which promotes rotational protection and deflection. What is deflected needn’t be decelerated.
The number, location, orientation and spring tension is critical to helmet function. How the helmet is to be used and by who, etc. needs to be calculated as part of the helmet design.
Novelty – The only way to protect the human head from impact injury is through deceleration or deflection. Automobiles protect passengers through crumple zones which decelerate the vehicle and its occupants. This helmet uses the same approach. The elastomers within the space act as a “crumple” zone to decelerate the impact. The distance and elastomer resistance determine the effectiveness. In addition for off centered hits a high degree of deflection occurs because the helmet moves away from the impacting object. In baseball a foul ball above the bat’s center line causes the ball to move upward while the bats change in motion is downward. No current helmet uses this design.
Market – The market is very large. Today millions of people wear helmets that do not protect effectively. Parents are preventing their children from playing football in increasing numbers. That simply means they don’t believe current helmets protect their children which tragically is true. The current helmet design is over 100 years old. Whether it is leather or plastic it is inadequate. Careful design with this helmet has the potential to significantly reduce head injuries.
Cost – The helmet would be somewhat higher in cost but not materially so. The added shell is inexpensive due to plastic molding or computer controlled machining. The elastomers are extruded and very inexpensive and can be machine inserted. The list prices of helmets would not be materially higher.