“You only get one brain. It’s worth protecting.” That’s the logic behind the WaveCel bike helmet from Trek and Bontrager. For 30 years, helmets have been using the same basic technology—EPS foam with a hard plastic shell and fabric straps. But WaveCel is revolutionizing how we look at bike safety.
The WaveCel technology is 48 times more effective than standard foam helmets in preventing concussions. The helmet works on a base of collapsible cellular material that utilizes a three-step change in material structure to better absorb the energy of a crash before it reaches your head. In studies, researchers found that in nearly 99 times out of 100, the WaveCel technology can help protect against concussions in common biking accidents.
While most helmets only address vertical impacts, the WaveCel helmets also address rotational forces—the forces that are most likely to cause concussions and brain damage. Not only do the cells of the WaveCel crumple, but they also fold in response to sheer forces. A standard helmet reduces the risk of injury to 53 per cent, but the WaveCel reduces the risk to 1.2 per cent.
The material was imagined by Dr. Michael Bottlang, who is the founder of Legacy Biomechanics Laboratory in Portland, Oregon. Bottlang is an orthopedic surgeon and a biomechanical engineer. His work has been funded since 2002 by funds from the US National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense.
With only one brain, why trust its safety to old technology?