June 8, 2010 2:49 pm

Crash Helmet

Literally! It can be hard to tell when it’s time to replace a bike helmet. It’s assumed they’re fairly sturdy and can last a long time. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials have created a new way to inform people that they have dangerous invisible cracks in their helmet: a helmet that emits an awful smell when it is no longer safe to wear.

Since bike helmets can look fine but be structurally damaged, this is a startling way to get the wearer informed. The helmet holds smelly oils enclosed in microcapsules that are placed under the shell.  A layer of melamine formaldehyde resin encloses the capsules so that they are completely airtight and mechanically sealed. If a crack is formed, a very unpleasant odor is released letting the user know it’s time to get a new helmet. Large cracks can really create a stink. This technology is also being considered to use on construction helmets and to test pressure hoses.

InventHelp’s Invention Girl personally hopes the researchers expand on this and add more pleasant smells such as flowers or cinnamon buns. Nothing seems worse than having a cycling accident in the woods then having to carry a stinky helmet all the way back to town!

Categorized in: