Proteus folding helmet concept could be a ground breaking idea if it provides adequate safety. We revisit this 2010 story…

Few years back a student from Australia named Ms Jessica Lea Dunn from the University of Technology, Sydney, designed a folding helmet which was nominated for The Australian International Design Award. Here are its details…

Proteus Folding Helmet – Product Description and Principal Function(s)

The PROTEUS folding motorcycle helmet was a ground-breaking new design solution for optimizing the portability of an essential road safety product. The PROTEUS helmet has a clever folding and locking system which ensures that the helmet is convenient to carry and easy to use, with consideration to Australian safety standards.

Conventional motorcycle helmets are bulky and awkward to carry, but urban commuters often have no choice, because if a helmet is left with the motorcycle, it may be weather damaged or stolen. Additionally, travelers who ride motorcycles are frequently caught wearing sub-standard, damaged or no safety equipment at all.

Proteus Folding Helmets

Why does the product represent design excellence and why do you believe it deserves an Australian Design Award?

Many motorcycle riders, and more commonly, pillion passengers, will eventually find themselves in a situation of being forced to or even making a conscious choice to ride without a helmet, or use or borrow a helmet of questionable safety standards, simply because it was too inconvenient to bring their own helmet.

These situations are incredibly dangerous, because it is a proven fact that motorcycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk and severity of head injury by about 70% and that, worldwide, head trauma is the main cause of death and morbidity in motorcycle and scooter users.

The PROTEUS offers a holistically considered design solution – a helmet that can be carried in a standard sized backpack. Attention towards the ritual of use has been explored throughout the design process, resulting in an intuitive folding sequence and locking mechanism design.

Human factors and ergonomics were key considerations in the design of the helmet, with sizing and fit critical to the success of the end product. And very importantly, the Australian safety standards for motorcycle helmets, AS/NZS 1698:2006 and AS/NZS 2512.6:2006, were key reference documents which informed the design development of the PROTEUS.

There are three key layers of impact protection provided by the PROTEUS helmet. The first layer is the polycarbonate resin shell which protects against abrasion and puncture, embedded with strong high-torque friction hinges.

Proteus Folding Helmets

The second layer is a standard impact-absorbing expanded polystyrene foam and the third layer, closest to the head, is made from a pliable yet impact absorbing material, which flexes in normal use, but then hardens instantly upon impact. Therefore, the PROTEUS is able to easily fold when not being worn, but when worn in the event of an accident, the molecules within the specified material lock together to effectively absorb and distribute the shock.

Additionally, the mechanism for attaching the visor is an original design. This mechanism is unique from other visor attachment mechanisms in that the point of rotation is not dependent upon being affixed to the shell at that exact same point – instead, it allows a visor to rotate via any specified arc of rotation via a track of a certain radius. The creation of a new mechanism was necessary due to the unique nature of the shell configuration of a folding helmet, as existing visor attachment mechanisms were not appropriate for this new application.

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This helmet made news during the 2010-11 period and we are unsure what is its current status. If commercialised, the PROTEUS folding motorcycle helmet would be a market first, challenging all existing conceptions of what a motorcycle helmet should look like and how it should perform and function.

During the past 20 years, motorcycle users has increased exponentially around the world, motorcycle commuters are still lugging around their helmets awkwardly, and many more people have started travelling the globe than ever before, demanding portable products.

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Recognizing and addressing a need for motorcycle commuters and travellers, the PROTEUS portable motorcycle helmet embodies the Dyson spirit of innovation, with the intention of pushing the boundaries of product design into the future.

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What do you think about this revolutionary helmet design?

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-M.Naren

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