Roorkee, 25th June 2018: A team from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee has developed an Inflatable Safety Helmet for motor-cyclists. The concept of Inflatable Helmet is inspired from the inflatable space structures as they are suitable for many space applications at low cost. An inflatable structure can be folded to fit into the shroud of a small launch vehicle and can be deployed in space by a small amount of inflation gas.
Each year nearly 1.2 million people die because of road crashes, and millions more are injured or disabled. In India, 69% of the total number of motor vehicles are motorized two-wheelers, considerably higher than in high-income countries and 27% of road deaths in India are among users of motorized two-wheelers. The traditional helmets do not offer sufficient protection to prevent injuries and are known for hindering agility and reducing the responsiveness of the rider. Traditional helmets are not much capable of reducing the peak acceleration, which can lead to more severe injuries.
The inflatable helmet can be worn around the neck and remains folded as a collar. The device is equipped with sensors to measure parameters such as acceleration, lean angle, velocity etc. to detect impact or collision. As soon as the impact is detected the helmet inflates and forms a cushion around the cranium. This cushion is more effective in reducing the impact and peak acceleration which is transferred to head.
The device is developed by three students, Mr. Sarang Nagwanshi, Mr. Mohit Siddha and Mr. Rajvardhan Singh, of B.Tech (Final Year) Mechanical Engineering, IIT Roorkee. The team is guided by Prof. Sanjay Upadhyay, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, IIT Roorkee.
Speaking about the technology, Prof. Sanjay Upadhyay, said, “The product has been conceptualized and tested for effectiveness and feasibility, and it has shown positive results. But for mass production, we need more diligence from our side and industry support. So still we are working to make it consumer- friendly. We are also looking for industrial partnerships so that the product turns out to be cost effective and user-friendly”.
Speaking about their invention, Mr. Sarang Nagwanshi, said,”We got the idea of inflatable helmet while we were working on inflatable space antenna at ISRO during our internship. As this helmet is being developed for the first time in India we got very limited help from any external source and our learning curve was very steep. The results obtained are very encouraging and we are working towards converting this idea into a reality.”
The team conducted Impact tests under standard testing conditions for helmets on mathematical models. The results indicate that inflatable safety helmets are capable of manifold reduction in the peak acceleration after impact created by the collision. The force which is experienced by the dummy head is found to be reduced by four times and falls far below the force experienced in case of conventional helmets. An inflatable airbag helmet reduces the head injury.