Skip to content
Surprising Science

A Bike Helmet Inspired By A Woodpecker’s Head

The liner is made out of a special type of cardboard that mimics the layer of spongy cartilage separating the bird’s beak from its skull.

What’s the Latest Development?

As a graduate student, designer Anirudha Surabhi  suffered a concussion when he fell from his bike, despite the fact that he was wearing a helmet. From this, he decided to try to build a better bike helmet for his final student project. Consequently, starting this month, customers in the UK and Japan will be able to buy the Kranium, a super-strong helmet that was inspired by woodpeckers: specifically, the way in which they are able to do their job without suffering any brain injury.

What’s the Big Idea?

Surabhi discovered that a woodpecker’s beak is separated from its skull by flexible, spongy cartilage that serves as a shock absorber. He set out to duplicate this cartilage and ended up with a special type of latticed cardboard liner that employs a hexagonal honeycomb structure. Air pockets contained in the structure help protect the wearer’s head in the event of a crash. Tests show that the helmet absorbs three times as much force as traditional helmets and is also 15 percent lighter. Surabhi says that the Kranium should be available in other parts of Europe by spring and in the US by summer’s end.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious

Read it at BBC Future


Up Next