Bike helmet showdown: Stanford researchers test new airbag tech

Bike helmet showdown: Stanford researchers test new airbag tech


[MUSIC PLAYING] Stanford University. Three, two, one. It’s little-known that football,
although you hear about it all the time in the media,
is not the number one cause of sports and
activity-related concussion. It’s bicycling. We compared the performance of
a traditional bicycle helmet, which is made of expanded
polystyrene foam, to this newly-developed
product called airbag helmets. We found that the
airbag has the potential to reduce the acceleration of
impact by a factor of five. This is possible
because an airbag that might expand over one’s
head can be much bigger. And because it’s larger,
it can also be softer. The federal test imposed
by Consumer Product Safety Commission is at a
2.2 meter height. So we tested from 0.6
meters up to 2 meters. So the linear acceleration
is traditionally associated with severe brain
injury risks and skull fracture risks. Although linear acceleration
is not directly related to concussion risks, we
believe that a big improvement in the linear
accelerations will also be reflected in the
rotational accelerations. It’s important to point
out that limitations, that if we had tested, for
example, at larger heights, you might see things
in airbag helmets that wouldn’t occur in foam. Because the air is
so soft and continues to compress relatively
constantly during an impact, will it ever bottom out. If our research
and those of others begins to provide more and
more evidence that this airbag approach might be
significantly more effective, there will be some major
challenges in the US to legally have a device
available to the public. For example, federal
standards do not test for triggering, which is
essential for this product, because it needs to be triggered
and expand around your head to actually make it work. Whether it be a foam
helmet or an airbag helmet, I think we need to
look a little bit more comprehensively at the federal
test standard, and at safety. For more, please visit
us at stanford.edu.