Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

ski helmet hardens upon impact colour  maroon

Beanies and wool hats are a whole lot cozier and more comfortable than hard ski helmets. Ninety-nine percent of the time they’re perfectly adequate for keeping your head covered as you ski down a slope. You know the one time that you’ll really wish you’d opted for the latter instead of the former, though? Answer: The time that you need a hard helmet.

A new product created by two researchers — a biomedical engineer and a product designer — from Queensland University of Technology in Australia could bring us the best of both worlds. They’ve developed a type of form-shifting beanie that transforms from soft to head-protecting hard when an impact takes place.

“What we’ve created is a beanie that is as safe as a helmet,” Rob Joseph, co-founder of Anti-Ordinary, told Digital Trends. “[Under the wool outer layer is a layer made] using a unique blend of non-Newtonian materials. These materials start off soft and malleable, like a soft rubber, but when impacted instantly changes state and hardens. Materials with this molecular structure have been used in things like kneepads and elbow guards for riding dirtbikes previously, but by themselves they don’t have the properties to be really able to absorb all the force like a helmet should. We’ve patented a unique layering system that allows [us] to create a helmet that exceeds alpine helmet standards, while still being extremely comfortable.”

Joseph said that the tech is designed to be used for activities like skiing, cycling, and skating, although the team is also working to design patients for people likely to suffer falls for medical reasons. Of course, the big question is whether it’ll work as well as advertised. After all, a helmet that is hard all the time make lack some of the “gee whiz” cool factor of this wearable, but at least it’s hard all the time. That means no transition period during which your noggin is left dangerously exposed.

“We’d never build a helmet that isn’t safe,” Joseph said. “We’re engineers and actions sports enthusiasts, and believe in being safe over everything. This helmet will pass the certifications required that the specific industry requires. The snow helmet will pass the CE EN1077 and ASTM F 2040 standards for alpine helmets. There is no electronics or mechanisms that make the material harden, it’s purely molecular level technology, meaning that the change in state is instant — with no delay.”

The only real delay will be the wait until you can get your hands on this futuristic helmet. Its creators plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in January, after which they’ll use the funds raised to enter mass production. If you’re interested in getting involved, pre-registration is already underway.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Outdoors

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Computing

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $10 to $130. Happy shopping!
Outdoors

Here are all the best rain jackets on the market right now

From high-tech, lightweight shells to modern-looking, waterproof trench coats, check out our list of the best rain jackets built to keep you dry and looking stylish in any season.
Emerging Tech

The enormous ‘Flying Bum’ moves toward a commercial design

A prototype of the world's largest aircraft is being retired as the company behind it prepares to build a production model. The new Airlander 10, also known as the "Flying Bum," could be ready for commercial use by 2025.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.