Wearing a bike helmet is the smart thing to do. We all know that. But sometimes the hassle of lugging a helmet to the office or while we pick up groceries is a pain. It’s also an issue if you want to jump on a bike-share and hadn’t planned for that. Your helmet’s sitting on the table by your front door, and you’re downtown.
Cue the Morpher helmet, a foldable wonder. The helmet has more than 112 different parts and a unique system of clasps on each side to unlock it for folding and stashing in your backpack or briefcase.
While Morpher is currently aimed toward cyclists, especially those who ride around cities and need to stow a helmet easily, the company intends to market it to snowboarders, skiers, hockey players and horse riders down the road. No doubt every active person or athlete would appreciate the practical helmet — why should cyclists have all the fun, right?
The helmet folds easily and can be snapped into shape just as fast. When it came to manufacturing the head gear, however, the multi-piece design was a challenge.
“Molding this helmet is extremely difficult as there are least six different materials and components involved,” explains the helmet’s inventor, Jeffrey Woolf. “They all have to be combined into one final molding and assembly operation, which is incredibly challenging and has never been done before!”
Woolf took on the challenge to perfect the design after surveying bike riders and finding that 92 percent of bike rental program cyclists didn’t wear a helmet, and the majority of them admitted that it was because carrying a helmet around all day was impractical.
His passion for cyclist safety came after his own brush with death a few years ago when he was hit by a car and thrown off his bike. “I flew through the air (stylishly) and landed head first on a kerb stone (a bit less stylishly),” he says. “I broke my shoulder, smashed my chin, broke a couple of ribs… and if it wasn’t for my helmet, I would almost certainly have died… or been seriously brain-damaged.” We can see how that experience would focus the mind on safety.
Many, many prototypes later, the Morpher helmet came to life, and soon it had won three major international innovation awards.
The flat-pack design is great for bike riders, but it will make selling the safety helmet easier, too. The company hopes that it could load up vending machines near bike-rental hubs to give riders every chance to choose a helmet to keep their noggins safe.
Woolf and Co. are determined to look after the welfare of the planet, too. They’ve committed to making the helmet and all of its components from recyclable materials.