Virginia Tech researchers raise $1.2 million to fund folding bike helmet

[Music] a pair of Virginia Tech grads has raised over 1.2 million dollars to fund their new creation it’s a folding bike helmet that’s well it’s cool but it took a tragedy to get the project started Rachael Hall was riding her bike to her last final exam in her senior year at Temple University when she was struck by a car at the intersection of Park and Diamond she spent the next four months in a coma like most casual cyclists she wasn’t wearing a helmet so her brother and his college classmate engineers at Virginia Tech set out to create a helmet that people would actually wear we don’t really want to be your mom telling you to wear a helmet right we want to build something that fits seamlessly into your life whether you’re somebody who rides a bike once a week we’re out there every day the team invented a folding helmet we’ve done thousands of impact tests in our lab their testing shows the soft technology meets or exceeds the safety of traditional hardshell helmets how does this work to protect your head the material itself deforms and that absorbs the energy and protects your head while serious cyclists tend to wear helmets casual cyclists like those who use rental bikes or scooters what the industry calls the micro mobility market only wear helmets ten percent of the time the hope is that a lightweight comfortable attractive helmet that you can take with you will make people want to wear them people don’t want to carry around huge chunks of foam as remarkable as the technology has been the early business success the pair’s Kickstarter campaign tripled expectations raising more than 1.2 million dollars selling 15,000 of the approximately $80 helmets perhaps not surprising since the team had lots of coaching on how to pitch the product from Virginia tax apex Center for entrepreneurs they won all seven pitch competitions they enter first place and it really already put us through the ringer and tested us before we went to these events and so we had a leg up on almost any of the other other universities that we competed it does this is the prototype but other colors are available and eventually there’ll be a style for just about everyone all online all direct to the consumer you’re looking right now at the product which is you know like the black sleek kind of city look but we’re also going to be introducing you know beanies we’re gonna be introducing other products that are gonna you know really appeal to a wide you know variety of individuals Rachael Hall recovered and finally graduated from Temple University like all graduates she is ready to see what the world has to offer as is the innovative helmet company created because of her injury and hoping to make the world just a bit safer and you’re telling me that that’s as safe as a conventional hardshell helmet absolutely ironically when Jordan graduated he had intended to work on safety systems in cars but when you look at how cars are now designed to dissipate energy in a crash the helmet is very similar now the first helmets will be available from Park and Diamond the first quarter of next year