Imitation is Flattery December 28 2013
One of the first amateur engineering endeavors made in the development of Tree Piece's inner protection system was figuring out how to make cork work as an effective substitute for molded EPS foam. Cork is inherently good at absorbing impact energy but it isn't absolutely perfect for the particular types tested for in helmets. It was a little too resilient (strong) and needed to beable to fail more easily during impact testing. This problem lead to several potential solutions that were proto-typed for testing. In the end what made the most sense was to create a honeycomb perforated layering system that gave 3 advantages
- More effective impact energy 'absorption'
- Significantly reduced weight
- Significantly improved airflow within the helmet shell
More than the wood shells this is really, from an innovation standpoint, the most valued 'invention' that Coyle developed. Coyle started showing off this technology at tradeshows in the summer of 2011. Since then plenty of folks, including designer/engineers from other large helmet companies have checked out this technology with interest.
So, since I am a little more product focused that market focused it took me til now to discover that one large company has adopted the same approach to lining in their helmets. Smith Optics rolled out their first bike helmet line this August (2013) which features what they are calling Aerocore™ Technology featuring Koroyd. Its a plastic honeycomb protection system which they claim is:
- better protection
- better venting
While its fun to wonder if the honeycomb system that Coyle debuted in 2011 helped inspire their approach its definitely validating to see a large company has come to the same conclusion. That being that using a collapsing honeycomb arrangement to absorb energy enhances the effectiveness of the substituent materials.
Maybe its bad form to provide links to other helmet company product lines but I can't help myself here. Its just really cool to see Goliath playing with a slingshot. http://www.smithoptics.com/technology/#/Snow+Helmets+Technology/?slideID=helmet1&techCat=helmetTech/