Advanced Bicycle Helmet Technology for Prevention of Traumatic Brain Injury

Period of Performance: 07/01/2017 - 06/30/2018

$810K

Phase SBIR

Recipient Firm

Apex Biomedical Company, LLC
Portland, OR 97227
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an acquired neurological disorder that can cause long- lasting disability with limited treatment options. Therefore, preventative strategies must be emphasized in high-risk activities to reduce the individual and societal burden of this pervasive injury. Bicycle activities account for 20% of all sports-related TBI, with over 50,000 annual injuries in the US. In an effort to alleviate the incidence and severity of these head injuries, helmet usage is now recommended, and in some states mandatory. However, contemporary bicycle helmets are not designed to mitigate rotational head acceleration, which is a clear physical mechanism of TBI. A novel helmet using High Impact Velocity Engineering (HIVE) technology has been developed that combines a proprietary cellular liner with an innovative suspension technique to provide superior energy absorption in a lightweight and cost-effective design. This advanced impact management system absorbs torsional and normal impact loads, and thus enables HIVE helmets to provide an unprecedented level of protection from linear and rotational head accelerations. STTR Phases I and II delivered conclusive evidence on the feasibility and performance of HIVE technology. HIVE prototype helmets yielded a 71% reduction in rotational head acceleration, corresponding to a 44% reduction in predicted TBI risk compared to standard bicycle helmets. This application seeks support for late stage development and technical assistance required to commercialize HIVE bicycle helmets. Timely commercialization of HIVE helmets is an urgent matter to decrease the incidence and severity of TBI among the over 50 million people in the US that regularly ride a bicycle.