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All of a sudden, cardboard seems to be showing up in the most unlikely products - First there is the cardboard bike and now, a helmet to go with it. What's surprising is that it is apparently much safer than that ones currently on the market that all use Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPF).
Kranium is the creation of Anirudha Surabhi a student at London's Royal College of Art, who decided that to make it his mission to re-design the conventional helmet, after a bike crash in 2010, left him with a cracked helmet and a severe concussion, for which he was hospitalized for several days.
For his inspiration, he looked at the animal kingdom, in particular, the woodpecker that has an amazing ability to withstand heavy impact thanks to the bird's unique corrugated cartilage structure that separates its beak from the skull.
Despite the fact that most of his advisors were skeptical of both his design and choice of material, Surabhi kept experimenting and testing his concept - And each time, it got better and better. The end result is a bike helmet that sports a honeycomb cardboard structure designed to be flexible, so that it can absorb impact force better than the current rigid foam helmets.
And while a cardboard helmet may not sound the to be the safest option, the Kranium has been tested extensively by experts in China, England and Germany. All three independently reached the same conclusion - That it can withstand three times more energy than current helmets. What's even better, is that it is 15 % lighter! And yes, the cardboard has been treated so that it is waterproof and sweatproof!
For those that cannot wait to get their hands on it you are in luck. That's because German bike lock and helmet company Abus, has already licensed the design and is planning to release a clear plastic version in Europe before the end of this year, a second generation version by next spring and then one that meets American safety standards, by June 2013.
And the young designer is not done yet - Because the helmet tested well enough to meet even motorbike safety standards he is now busy creating a full-face 'cardboard' helmet for that market!