anirudha rao: kranium effective cycling protection
anirudha rao: kranium effective cycling protection anirudha rao: kranium effective cycling protection
oct 04, 2010

anirudha rao: kranium effective cycling protection

‘kranium’ image © designboom




recent industrial design RCA graduate anirudha rao has developed ‘kranium’, a solution for effective cycling protection, exhibited during london design week 2010 at designersblock.



‘kranium’ structure image © designboom



through his research, rao found that expanded polystyrene has been used to create bike helmets for the last few decades, and there has been little in terms of safety over the years. on average, helmets protect your head only 16 percent of the time during a crash, giving us the false implication of safety. polystyrene does little to absorb impact energy. instead it distributes it over the head. typically in helmet design, more emphasis is given to styling and aerodynamics. however, while cycling through a busy city an average speed of 12 mph, safety definitely becomes more important than aerodynamics. so, rao asked himself, ‘why is this unsustainable, non-recyclable material, largely focused on aesthetics being pushed into our lives to promote safety?‘



image © designboom



‘kranium’ is his solution. it looks at creating a lightweight outdoor sports activity helmet that will change the market through improved safety, recyclability and overall design – its structure has been developed to absorb impact energy. the ribs have been designed to accommodate movement in some places, however remaining perfectly rigid in other areas. during a crash, the force peak of the impact is absorbed by the ribs tending to flex and de-flex. the remaining amount of energy is then absorbed by the crumpling nature of the corrugated ribs. when tested against british (EN 1078) standards at the imperial college, it was calculated that ‘kranium’ absorbs four times the amount of impact energy when compared to regular cycling helmets. this means that during a crash, lesser amounts of energy go into your head, making it a safer option than those already on the market.






it has also been concluded that ‘kranium’ lasts more than one impact. during the testing phase, the same helmet was tested five consecutive times, still proving to pass the standard. however, polystyrene helmets were rendered useless after a single impact.



‘kranium’ with a clear shell image © designboom



another issue that came up during rao’s research was that polystyrene helmets today, never properly fit the user’s head. additional straps and levers are provided to grip the head, but they never tend to provide a perfect fit, hence when a crash occurs, the helmet slides out of its position upon impact and does very little to protect the user’s head. due to the structural nature of ‘kranium’, bespoke custom made helmets can be manufactured by scanning one’s head. through generated coordinates, templates can then be produced and assembled together, making it a completely customizable piece of head protection, where every single element such as shape, fit, color etc., can be tailored to the user. the individual’s head would be scanned and a file would remain in a system, so that upon damaging the helmet, a brand new one could be could be reproduced for a fraction of the price. this encourages one to change the helmet when it needs to be changed without spending an exorbitant amount of money.



‘kranium’ structure with clear shell (profile) image © designboom



‘kranium’ is lighter and its custom sizing makes it more comfortable, bringing together form and function in a cost-effective product made from eco-friendly materials. it also has the potential to play a part in the future of bike rentals, which are becoming more eminent in cities world wide. a cheap helmet, which can be dispensed through a vending machine, could be the answer for the future of bike rental safety.



up close image © designboom



‘kranium’ with black shell image © designboom



‘kranium’ with black shell (side view) image © designboom



‘kranium’ with blue and red shell image © designboom



‘kranium’ with blue and red shell (side view) image © designboom



‘kranium’ with white shell image © designboom



up close of front image © designboom



inside view of the ‘kranium’ helmet image © designboom



designer anirudha rao portrait © designboom



‘kranium’ display at designersblock 2010 image © designboom



rao showing designboom some material samples image © designboom



more material experimentation image © designboom


‘kranium’ can be custom made to fit each person’s head through a digital scan, and can be easily assembled through a slotting system image © designboom



Kranium Structural Assembly from Anirudha Surabhi on Vimeo.

  • not for watersports I imagine…

    S says:
  • Brilliant. Get it into market quick, before a badly-behaved bus or Chelsea tractor makes it redundant (for me). I’m sure you’ll waterproof it, both inside and out — otherwise one ride in the rain and I’d be wearing a papier mache skullcap…

    James Allwright says:
  • Corrugated recycled plastic is available but may not absorb as much impact energy. Also waxed cardboard. In any case great idea. More difficult to manufacture, of course, but totally worth it.

    Tom P says:
  • Brilliant at first look. But ..
    Are there enough well-tested technology? Cardboard is not an innocuous material. Butt board is very dense and strong. You can also recall that the paper can be shifted.

    michael says:
  • … paper can be shifted and cut the skin.

    michael says:
  • Stupid design…what year is it? This kid should pick up a book and see what helmets looked like 25 years ago…ahem kiwi helmets anyone — polystyrene and inmolding rules; you can’t save your earth people she’s doomed; enjoy!

    Rippa says:
  • Sweat?

    Great concept, better product with the input from Tom P above.
    I’d imagine the manufacturing and assembly process would be identical to cardboard for Corflute or waxed board?

    Mr G says:
  • as a cyclest, this is seriously one of the best peices of design i’ve seen in a long time, looks good, practical and will fit like a glove!! as for water proofing wax finish, lacquers, varnish impregnation ” a mear detail watson”. the idea rules … get it into production NOW

    Kenny B says:
  • The Cardboard has been treated with Acrylex 100 which is a waterbased water proofing agent. This doesnt ruin the recycling aspect of the cardboard.

    An inner skin is currently being developed to absorb the impact of the paper on skin

    Ani Rao says:
  • I don’t get it… but it’s a nice prsentation

    A says:
  • Its awseome!!!, the guy who said “stupid design” is probably retarted and needs help!!!!

    Kunnu says:
  • Amazing concept and design..good work

    Big J says:
  • i did something simillar for an egg and the egg broke when it dropped with that cover.
    so..sometimes it looks good but doesn’t work.

    alona says:
  • I want one.

    My helmet, even with it’s straps and gaps and “custom fit” craps doesn’t fit.
    I want one that fits.

    My helmet, if it works at all, only works once – where I will likely hit my head more than once even in one single event.
    I want one that protects where it can, and when it can.

    My helmet is made out of plastic and junk that I have to throw away.
    I want one that recycles.

    Awesome. I want one.

    Lief says:
  • Can you send me the 2d cad file as a reference for making my own helmet?

    Stewart says:
  • it’s a neat project but doesn’t seem like it would sustain daily use without rapid deformation or degradation of the gimmick material.

    SweatyAllweatherBiker says:

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