As a cyclist I had always hated wearing a helmet. They were uncomfortable,
they bounced around on the head, I looked funny in it, they were hot, heavy,
and what did you do with the thing after you got off your bike? Yet, riding
without one is dangerous and foolish. I was sure that there
had to be something better.
As a sculptor in 1991 I started toying around with a new concept; a
segmented helmet. A helmet that when you tightened the retention straps the
helmet would flex to conform to the wearer's individual head shape. There
would be three general sizes; toddler, youth, and adult, but within each of
these one helmet would fit all heads. No sticking of foam pads for correct fit
as in current helmets. Such a helmet would be vastly more comfortable, sit
firmly on the head, and in ventilation and weight rival the best on the market.
But would it pass the strict safety tests? It took five years of design
modifications but it eventually surpassed all requirements both domestic and
worldwide. A further development was to create a helmet that not only
flexed but completely folded. A helmet just as safe but when not on the head
folded into a useful "fanny pack" that could be worn around the waist.
My patents on these helmets were purchased and the flexing helmet has
recently come on to the market. The folding helmet is expected next year.
Manufacture design has allowed the flexing helmet to be priced at the low
end of the helmet market.
As featured in the June 12, 2000 issue of
"Business Week" these helmets received the Gold Medal in the
Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) Year 2000 from the Industrial
Designers Society of America.
Below are examples of the helmets without retention straps.