Inflabi, Inflatable Helmet
Helmets can be awkward to transport, the Inflabi helmet gets around this in a clever way.
Wearing a helmet can lessen the damage in an accident and many people regard them as a necessity when riding. On a long ride or racing, you wear them for the duration of your ride; maybe you take them off at the café? Generally they’re on your head and you’re not worrying about what to do with them when they’re not. However, if you’re using your bike for more utilitarian reasons, shopping, commuting, etc, what do you do with your helmet in between riding? Helmets are generally bulky and fragile and a bit of a pain to carry around; which is where the Inflabi comes in.
The Inflabi is the brainchild of a group of German designers. Their aim is to “create products that make mobility enjoyable, safer and more flexible for people that move.” This inflatable helmet could be attractive to people that don’t want to carry around a traditional helmet. When deflated it packs down small enough to fit easily in a bag, with plenty of room to spare.
Inflabi versus traditional helmets
With the Inflabi using air pockets to cushion your head, the designers have created a re-useable helmet. Standard foam helmets are designed to crumple and absorb or dissipate forces away from your head in a crash. Once that happens the helmet is then useless, as the protective foam is destroyed or too compressed to be of any more use. Even dropping a helmet from anything over a metre will damage that protective foam.
By using air contained in a robust air-retaining fabric, the Inflabi can take a knock and and still retain its protective capabilities. You can drop it, kick it around, it won’t affect the helmet’s ability to protect your noggin. When you’ve finished with it you deflate it and pop it in your bag. Inflating is done with a hand pump, via a Schraeder valve.
The Inflabi also tackles the green factor when it comes to helmets. As we said, once you’ve crashed your foam helmet, that’s it, Kaput! By using air though, the Inflabi can just keep on going crash after crash (let’s hope not, for your sake!) So you could literally have a helmet for life. With some helmets costing over £200, that can be costly and remember most manufacturers will recommend you change your helmet every three years. This makes the Inflabi a very economical investment. Plus you won’t be creating more un-recyclable waste to go to land-fill.
You may ask, how safe is the Inflabi? Will hitting the ground with an inflatable helmet have your head bouncing off into the weeds? Well, according to Inflabi, their helmet offers four times the shock absorption of a conventional bike helmet. They’re also in the process of getting the helmet certified by the relevant safety bodies, so you should be safe.
At the moment the Inflabi isn’t available to buy, but will be heading to Kickstarter in November. This is giving the team time to refine the helmet. You can see how the air-pockets and valve system are changing in the images above and below. We’ll keep an eye on this clever helmet and let you know if it reaches its funding target. In the meantime you can head over to their website for more details.