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Parker Trow

Industrial Design Studio 10A Head Protection

Phase 1: Research


tic e m l


Samantha Albert Amanda Bolton Save face. Please wear a helmet.

Katie Levy Samantha Scipio Parker Trow

Crash Injuries

Helmet Ergonomics Four basic components work together to provide protection in the motorcycle helmet; and outer shell, an impact-obsorbing liner, the comfort padding, and a good retention system. 1) Outer Shell Usually made from fiber-reinforced composites or thermoplastics like polycarbonate. It is designed to compress when it hits anything hard. That action disperses energy from the impact to lessen the force before it reaches the head. 2) Impact-absorbing Liner Made of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) which cushions and absorbs the shock as the helmet stops and the head wants to keep moving. Both the shell and the liner compress if hit hard, spreading the forces of impact throughout the helmet material. The more impact-energy absorbed, the less there of it to reach the head and do damage. Some helmets are designed to break at the jaw to prevent the neck from breaking. A helmet should be replaced if any damage occurs to the inner liner, even if the helmet has no cracks or damage on the shell. 3) Comfort Padding Soft foam and cloth layer which helps keep you comfortable and the helmet fitting snugly. 4) Retention System (chin strap) This is the one piece which keeps the helmet on in a crash. Keep it securely fastened.

Fitting Helmets Finding the Right Size: Instead of guessing a helmet size, a good starting point is to measure your hat size. To do this, measure your head at its largest circumference, which is usually just above the eyebrows and around the back. Use the chart below in order to determine your hat size, rounding up if your size falls between numbers.

Trying on the Helmet: - The helmet should fit snugly and may even feel a bit too tight until it is in place correctly. A helmet loosens up a bit as the comfor liner compresses through use. A new helmet should be as tight as you can comfortably wear it. - Move it from side to side and up and down. If it fits right, your skin should move as the helmet is moved. - The cheek pads should touch your cheeks without pressing uncomfortably - There should be no gaps between your temples and the brow pads - If the helmet has a neck roll, it shouldn’t push the helmet away from the back of your neck - On full-face helmets, press on the chin piece. The helmet or face shield should not touch your nose or chin. If it does, it will surely do so at speed from wind pressure. - With the chin strap securely fastened, try rolling the helmet forward off your head. You shouldn’t be able to pull it off. If you can, the helmet is too big.

Helmet Ergonomics




Carbon Fiber

Thermoplastic polymer

Water and heat resistant.

Glass reinforced polymer

Fiber reinforced polymer

Cheaoer to contruct than competing products.

Composition can have strength of metal at a fraction of the weight.

Heavier than competitors.

Meant to tear apart on impact.

More expensive than fiberglass. (Somehwere in between the two previous)

Used for outer shell.

Absorbs the large initial shock during an impact.

More expensive, lighter.

Fire resistant.

EPS Foam •

Makes up layer between shell and inner foam padding.

A hard plastic.

• •

Inner Foam •

Last barrier before face.

Absorbs additional impact from shell.

Acts as cushion, conforms to face shape inside helmet.

Designed to mold and crush on impact.

Designed to bounce back on impact.

Sometimes removable and washable.

Competitive Benchmarking

Half “Shorty”





No protection of face, ears or chin.

No protection of face or chin.

Protects face and chin, as well as head.

Protects face and chin, as well as head.

Elongated visor and chin protection.

Other eye protection/ goggles needed.

Other eye protection/ goggles needed.

Restrictive airflow.

Noisier than helmets with ear coverage.

Rear covers base of skull.

Inner pads and outer guards are often replacable due to high-stress situations.

Lightest option

Brims or similar sun protection popular additions.

Chin bar flips up over forehead, allowing for speech and eating convenience.

Plastic face shield swivels open.

Better air-flow for face.

“open-air feeling”

Riding in “up” position can cause more wind resistance.

Large facial opening for goggles.

Popular among “crusier” set.

Most protective onroad helmet on market.

No vision contriction from full-face visor.

Removable face shield an option.

“open-air feeling”

No vision constriction from full-face visor.

Can be heavier: two pieces instead of one.

Has a middle-aged fan base.

Non-Competitive Benchmarking

Sport Helmets

Animal Skulls

Same basic head protection needs

Natural methods of protecting the brain.

Different methods of padding / types of foam used.

Reinforcement from other bones / whole system.

Materials are thinner.

Lots of ventilation options.

Mountain climbing, lacrosse, biking, etc.


Related Gear •

Protection for other parts of the body while riding motorized vehicles.

Similar materials.

Different sections of skull.

Protection not an option - natural selection.

Helmet needs to fit into needs not found by other related gear.

Same market.

Video Games

Speedform - extremely aerodynamic

Futuristic forms not on the market.

Keeps head protected, must remain fairly quiet and unobtrusive for use.

Full-body systems, helmet takes into account environment while in use.

Materials must be strong, similar format to motorized vehicle helmets.

Different parts, many different kinds of visors and face shields.



Survey Results Moped 35.49%

Glasses 28.68% Padded Pants %4.84

Dirtbike 7.28%

None 11.11%

Padded Jacket 6.67% Scooter 21.74%

Vehicle Hat 3.8%

Motorcycle 35.49%


Wears Helmet 84.68%

Boots 20.02%

Nothing 11.5%

Errands 36.38%

Gloves 28.68%


City Streets 39.19% Dirt Trails 3.92% Off Road 7.85%

School 18.16%


Suburbs 19.62%


Road Trips 19.98% Work 25.48%

Counrty Roads 29.41%

“A ten dollar helmet for a ten dollar head.”

“The average customer will buy the cheapest helmet or a half helmet, then come back after a few thousand miles for a full face, safer helmet.”

“I wear the best.” “Retro will always be cool.” “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.”

Common Modifications

Quick Strap •

Normal straps are “D Ring” closures

Clear visors let in a lot of light

Hard to use while wearing gloves

Tinted visors only dull bright glares

Helps with latching

Many people use normal tapes to mask the sun out

Costs about $10


Tape Visor

Comm System

Visors are prone to getting covered with rain drops

Can also get mud that obstructs view

Costs about $5

Helmets can make one feel disconnected from the experience and pasengers Communications systems allow for music and rider interaction

Goggles/Glasses •

Eye protection is required by law

Many riders need protection from the sun

Goggles also help eyes from getting too dry

Typical cost is $20 - $100

Can cost several hundred dollars

Mind Map


Target Users


(Mysterious Black Rider)

The Scooter Guy

The Cafe Racer

The Cruiser

The Frat Boy


Mid 20 Male

33 year old Male

25-35 Male

Middle age Male

23 year old Male

Owns a Ducati 848 Evo.

Rides a 1977 Puch Pinto.

Rides a cafe racer/ street tracker bike.

Rides cruiser and naked sports bikes.

Willing to spend money on best equiptment possible.

Loves the process of fixing and upgrading his bike.

Into customization and working on his motorcycle.

Middle class, has a budget for his bike.

Rides a Honda CBR 600, also owns a moped.

Somewhat of a risk taker, but experienced.

Wears a helmet at all times.

Doesn’t have a lot of time to spend on detailing his bike.

Usually wears a helmet.

Road driving, interstate trips less than 3 hours.

Road driving - esp. loves the highway.

Rides in the city - his moped is main form of transportation.

Mostly wears 3/4 helmet, appearance is important. ‘Retro’ style.

Wears a helmet, but not always.

Avoids the interstate on his bike.

Jason Cafe Racer Jason is aware of the risks involved with not having a full-face helmet, but doesn’t think that there are alternatives that match his style. He loves working on his custom-made motorcycle, and likes the connection he has to it when he rides.

Design Objectives Our designs should - Provide excellent protection - Be easy to use and to store - Be comfortable to wear - Have good ventilation - Be aesthetically appealing - Enhance the riding experience

Phase 2: Concept Development

Phase 3: Validation

Phase 4: Refinement

Phase 5: Finalization

Helmet Process Book  

Process book detailing my adventures in motorcycle helmet creation

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