A British doctor claims to have created a new type of helmet that, in the event of an accident, can reduce the damaging effect of head rotation that often leads to brain injury.
Acting out of concern for his son, a keen motorcyclist, Dr Ken Phillips set out to design a helmet that replicated the head’s natural defenses. The skin’s ability to slip slightly over the skull normally moderates the sudden rotation of the head that typically leads to severe brain injuries even when the skull is protected from impact. Phillips’s design adds an artificial membrane to the exterior of a conventional helmet to mimic the slipping of human skin.
“My son started the whole thing off,” said Phillips. “He told me that rotation was causing a lot of injuries that helmets didn’t protect against — and what was I going to do about it? As a doctor, I knew about head injuries but I had a bit of learning to do about helmet engineering.”
After 15 years and £1m of research, the first range to employ the new Phillips Head Protection System (PHPS) has come to market — Lazer Superskin (lazerhelmets.com) helmets are available to buy for around $300. In tests conducted by the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, the PHPS helmet was said to dissipate the effect of rotation during an impact by 60% compared with a top-end conventional helmet.