Never underestimate the power of cardboard. Computers, record players, flash drives, houses — you name it, can all be made from the stiff paper substance. But would you trust a cardboard helmet to absorb four times more shock energy than plastic noggin shields? You should.
Anirudha Surabhi's Kranium bike helmet is exactly as it looks and sounds — a cardboard head protector that lasts longer and will probably save your brains from deadly street damage. Here's how it works according to Surabhi:
"The ribs of the structure have been designed to accommodate movement in some places where as it remains perfectly rigid in some areas. Thus during a crash the force peak of the impact is absorbed by the ribs tending to flex and de-flex. The remaining amount of energy is then absorbed by the crumpling nature of the corrugated ribs. When tested against the British Standards (EN 1078) at the Imperial College, Kranium absorbs 4 times the amount of impact energy when compared to regular cycling helmets. This means that during a crash, lesser amounts of energy go into your head thus making it safer than regular cycling helmets."
Custom-built to fit an individual rider's head (so the helmet hugs tighter and is less likely to slip off) and coated with a waterproof acrylic compound to shield against rain, the Kranium helmet looks to be the result of better research and design. Who seriously knew cardboard helmets could be so versatile?
Would I wear cardboard on my head at the expense of looking less cool? You betcha. Now, let's just see if Surabhi can build a cardboard helmet that will reduce the amount of concussions NFL football players get every year.