Auckland campus is closed at COVID-19 Alert Level 3. More information.

Innovative helmet design on the right track

Exploded view of the Cortec trail helmet showing glass reinforced nylon structure and removable panel.

Cortec trail helmet top impact panel replacement

Bachelor of Design student and Cortec helmet designer
Dan Wilkinson.

Watch a short video of the Cortec helmet above.

Massey industrial design student Dan Wilkinson hopes his innovative trail helmet could help mountain bikers identify and manage concussions.

The Bachelor of Design (hons) student has designed Cortec – a modular concussion management trail helmet, which incorporates sensors to inform the rider of signs of concussion after impact, via a smartphone app. While the design is still in the conceptual stages, Mr Wilkinson is keen to keep working on it, to get it ready for production.

“The helmet signals a suspected concussion to both the rider and other mountain bikers through an integrated LED system, which takes out the second guessing whether the rider needs to seek further medical attention,” Mr Wilkinson says.

The app also allows the rider to see when the six different impact panels need replacing, keeping the rider and their helmet in 100 per cent riding condition.

“With current mountain bike helmets costing upwards of $300, and most helmet manufacturers suggesting to replace any helmet after any crash, even without visible damage, most riders often just keep riding in damaged helmets,” he says.

“The Cortec helmet is constructed on a glass reinforced internal structure, using D30 impact [a polyurethane energy-absorbing material] protective material as the secondary impact. This allows the internal parts of helmet to be reused, minimising the amount of EPS [expanded polystyrene] foam getting thrown into landfill.”

The 23-year-old, originally from Nelson, was inspired to design the helmet by his own experience and other riders experiences of concussion, and says there is a lack of innovation in safety with trail helmets on the market.

“Over the course of my final year of study, I immersed myself in research, where I interviewed medical professionals about concussion to gain a deeper understanding, and constructed design studios to get more insight about riders’ personal experiences with concussion, which led to the overall final design.” 

Mr Wilkinson showcased the helmet concept as part of Massey’s College of Creative Arts’ graduate exhibition Exposure late last year, and will continue to work on it in his spare time. He has recently moved from Wellington to Matakana, north of Auckland, to begin a role at GDP (Global Design and Production).

“I would like to thank Dr Douglas King, Hutt Valley District Health Board, Natalie Hardaker, ACC SportSmart and Serah Allison, Wellington Free Ambulance, for sharing their time, professional knowledge and experience with concussion, which gave my design more validation. I would also like to thank Matthew Wright from Yeti Cycles New Zealand, for his assistance evaluating the designs, and providing me with filming gear so I could make a short video on the Cortec helmet design.”

Related articles

Graduate exhibition offers full Exposure
Sustainable designs among the Best
Industrial designs awarded among the Best

Contact us Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey