Outdoors

Folding helmet inspired by the pangolin and honeybees

A variation of the Alpha Helmet with a chinstrap fully engaged on the right
A variation of the Alpha Helmet with a chinstrap fully engaged on the right
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The models show the Alpha helmet in various stages of articulation
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The models show the Alpha helmet in various stages of articulation
A prototype of the Alpha helmet partially folded forward
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A prototype of the Alpha helmet partially folded forward
The Alpha helmet folded down around the neck and up around the head
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The Alpha helmet folded down around the neck and up around the head
A variation of the Alpha Helmet with a chinstrap fully engaged on the right
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A variation of the Alpha Helmet with a chinstrap fully engaged on the right
A front view of a 3D graphic rendering of the Alpha helmet
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A front view of a 3D graphic rendering of the Alpha helmet
Computer rendering of the Alpha in different stages of articulation
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Computer rendering of the Alpha in different stages of articulation
The Alpha helmet was inspired by the pangolin,
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The Alpha helmet was inspired by the pangolin,

Scientists and inventors have been taking their cues from nature for centuries, but who would have thought the somewhat exotic pangolin (aka scaly anteater) and honeybees would influence a bicycle helmet design? That unlikely pairing is what inspired Golem Innovation to create the Alpha helmet, a folding noggin protector that retracts around your neck when not in use.

The impetus behind the design of the Alpha helmet was a simple one: create a helmet that would be lighter than existing ones and could easily be put away so you didn't have to hold it or run the risk of losing it.

The company's design team settled on the pangolin's ability to roll itself up into an ball as the primary design element, with the bee honeycomb as the influence behind the internal structure to give the helmet the ability to absorb hard impacts.

A prototype of the Alpha helmet partially folded forward
A prototype of the Alpha helmet partially folded forward

When the Alpha is not in use, it folds into itself and sits on your shoulders, taking up about as much space as the Hövding airbag for cyclists. To bring it into helmet mode, you reach around with one or both hands and the Alpha articulates into a half-faced helmet with built-in eye protection.

A double-lock system consisting of a mechanism on either side of the helmet must be engaged for the helmet to fold properly in either direction and stay locked in place. The helmet is also designed so that each of the sections or blades that comprise the foldable parts is overlaid in a way that adds to its overall stability and structural integrity. Additionally, the helmet incorporates a no-choke system that sees the chinstrap automatically break away if someone pulls the helmet from behind when it's folded up and sitting on your shoulders.

Golem Innovation says it is initially targeting winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, and most bicycle sports. Eventually, it wants to expand to include just about any sport where wearing a helmet is either necessary or prudent.

The company recently launched a Kickstarter program to raise over 200,000 (US $224,300) to help bring the Alpha helmet to market. Early backers can pre-order the Alpha for 175 ($195) with shipments expected by June 2017 if the company is successful in taking this helmet from concept to completion.

Over the past few years, several different companies have introduced varied versions of foldable helmets like the Headkayse, Morpher, and Overade. However, none of these have the articulating design of the Alpha and they must be fully removed to take advantage of their folding capability.

Source: Golem Innovation

9 comments
McGannSaphir
Definitely an answer to a question that nobody asked. You know, you can just take the helmet off.......Duh!! (AND you won't risk breaking your neck.).
Koolski
Make this a ballistic helmet and combine it with communications and a heads up display for situational awareness and have it provide chemical weapons protection and you have one heck of a 21st century helmet for a soldier. Throw in infrared and/or thermal imaging with zoom capabilities as the pièce de résistance. Besides the obvious technical advances I like the idea that the weight isn't all on your head which tires your neck out after days in the field. Your lower neck and shoulders would bear some of the weight. I also like the idea of being able to cool off your head by opening up the up the helmet. This would be an awesome helmet!
MK23666
Japanese anime strikes again! Waiting patiently for my Gundam.
Timelord
Neat "fighter pilot" look, but lots of unanswered questions. Looks like it wouldn't have anywhere near enough shock-absorbing material to meet the CPSC standard. Might have the "Batman effect" where you can't turn your head very far. Certainly lacks enough ventilation for bicycling as it is. Also looks like the way it slides forward will mess up your hair even more than a regular helmet.
Galane
It's like the helmets in the Stargate TV series. Being physical props instead of the CGI used for them in the movie, they couldn't fold up as compactly as the CGI movie versions.
Oun Kwon
Looks very functional, not gimmicky at all.
PeteKK
I have a feeling that choker neck strap is going to go over like a fart in a space suit.
Lumen
Que up the Lost in Space trailer (point 1:10): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0-llt3anCA I hope they're successful.
AndyRed3d
Considering the main aim of a helmet is to provide protection... I'd be interested to know how this compares on impact absorption data compared to existing helmets. I can see this would be brilliant for military applications though, where you could wear it down when the weather is hot, and up when the situation is hot. But it loses some of it's benefit for transport where you can't tell when you're going to have an accident. The Hovding is a better solution for that as it deploys automatically. By the way, Headkayse isn't just a folding helmet, it's also safer, much tougher and more comfortable than existing helmets. The folding is an additional convenience bonus!