The impact-absorbing Goose Egg has got helmets' backs
According to research conducted by Canadian materials engineering technologist Albert Beyer, about 68 percent of hockey, skiing and snowboarding-related concussions are caused by impacts to the back of the head – these may occur when hockey players fall back onto the ice, for instance. With that in mind, Beyer created The Goose Egg.
Designed to be added to third-party helmets or incorporated by manufacturers into their own helmets, The Goose Egg weighs less than an ounce (28 g), and it works by collapsing to dissipate impact energy. According to Beyer, the rear section of regular helmets currently doesn't offer sufficient protection.
The "egg" itself is made of carbon fiber, and consists of two bowl-shaped halves that are bonded together to form a semi-flattened sphere. Vent holes along the seam between the two halves allow trapped air to quickly escape as the sphere collapses, ensuring that it does so within mere milliseconds. And although the egg must be replaced after each impact, it can be popped in and out of a foam holder that remains permanently adhered to the helmet.
In drop tests performed at the University of Alberta, the use of a Goose Egg on the back of nine hockey helmets was found to reduce peak forces by 70 percent. Additionally, the duration of impacts was increased by 100 percent, thus lessening their intensity by dragging them out over a (relatively) longer time – an average of 16.6 milliseconds.
And it should be noted that Beyer is certainly no slouch when it comes to the development of such products. Over the years, he has designed and manufactured items including composite water skis, award-winning ultra-light gyrocopter rotor blades, carbon fiber bicycle frames, plus aero helmets and disc wheels that were used by the silver medal-winning Canadian National Cycling Team in the 1984 Olympics.
He's also been involved in race car design, which indirectly led to the creation of The Goose Egg.
"Knowing what I know from race car development, that the nose cone on an Indie car lets it drive into a wall at 45 miles an hour with no damage to the rest of the car, I knew that [the damage] can be very localized," he told us.
And while big-name helmet manufacturers such as Bauer, Specialized, POC and Aegis have all expressed an interest in The Goose Egg (US patent #10/228,036), Albert is still very much interested in licensing it to others. He can be reached via his Edmonton-based company, Dynamic Composites.
Ultimately, if it's manufactured as a stand-alone product, he estimates that The Goose Egg should sell for around US$25 to $30 for a kit that includes a couple of replacement eggs, with extra eggs going for $5 to $10 each.
Product page: The Goose Egg