If you've had the same helmet for years, there's a chance that wear and tear has made it less effective over time. But how do you know? With this helmet being designed in Germany, all you'd need to do is give your helmet a whiff.
A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg has been testing out a new manufacturing process that injects microcapsules filled with a odor-causing oil into the materials that go into a helmet. When the protective layer is cracked, you'll be able to big up a smell coming from your helmet. It's proportional, so a big crack will let off quite the stink.
"Cyclists often replace their helmets unnecessarily after dropping them on the ground, because they cannot tell whether they are damaged or not," Dr. Christof Koplin, a research scientist at the IWM, said. "The capsules eliminate this problem. If cracks form, smelly substances are released."
Seems like a sure-fire way to find out if you need to replace your helmet or not, but an awful thing to come around to if your helmet saves you after a hard fall. According to Koplin, the work on the microcapsules is behind the team, and they are currently "completing characterizing tests on individual configurations." We take that to mean different polymer shapes mimicking helmets, and that the technology is still a ways away.