Everyone knows helmets can save lives, but one thing we don’t know is how they do it. Scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology have found a way to mimic the brain’s safety mechanism and apply it to helmets. The end result is helmets with the Multi-directional Impact Prevention System (MIPS), which have a special, low-friction cushion between the outer shell of the helmet and the liner, modeled after the cerebrospinal fluid between the brain and the skull. This cushion allows for the outer shell to rotate while the inner liner stays put, significantly dulling the impact of rotational force on the helmet wearer’s head.
When a MIPS helmet wearer hits his or her head on an angle, the helmet will slide slightly, preventing some of the force of impact from reaching the head and brain. A traditional helmet in the same situation will not slide, allowing much more of the force from the impact to reach the head and brain.
Traditional helmets mainly provide protection from vertical impacts, whereas MIPS helmets have added protection from angled impacts to the head. This is key because angled impacts prove to be more common among cyclists than vertical impacts.
Comparison tests by MIPS show that sample brains fitted in their helmets demonstrated substantially lower levels of strain than did similar sample brains fitted in helmets without MIPS low-friction cushions. This means cyclists wearing MIPS helmets during impact are less likely to experience a concussion and in turn post concussion syndrome.
Stepping away from safety, online reviewers applaud the light weight and comfort of MIPS helmets as well. Although the price is slightly higher than a traditional helmet, the cost is well worth the concussion defense provided by the Brain Protection System.
The MIPS Brain Protection System is available in adult and youth sizes for bicycles, snow sports, and motorcycles. Some prominent retailers that offer MIPS helmets are POC, Airoh, FOX, Scott Sports, Lazer Sport, and TSG.
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