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In Brief

Foldable Cardboard 'EcoHelmet' Wins James Dyson Award's Top Prize

The EcoHelmet is a reusable, biodegradable and collapsible alternative to bulky helmets. (Image credit: Isis Shiffer)

The James Dyson Foundation announced today (Nov. 17) that Isis Shiffer is the 2016 International Winner of the James Dyson Award for her EcoHelmet design — a collapsible, biodegradable bike helmet that can be dispensed through vending machines at urban bike-share stations.

The contest awarded Shiffer $45,000, and provided an additional $7,500 to the university department where she studied design and engineering.

Sir James Dyson, inventor and founder of the award, praised the EcoHelmet for presenting a simple and "elegant" solution to the problem of providing cheap, accessible helmets to users of urban bike-share programs.

The EcoHelmet, which is made entirely of cardboard, is compact enough to fit in a laptop bag when folded. It cushions the wearer's head with honeycomb-patterned paper that absorbs and distributes impacts, protecting cyclists from injury.

"I look forward to seeing EcoHelmets used in bike shares across the world," Dyson said in a statement.

International runners-up include "Respia," an asthma management system that uses a wearable patch to monitor respiratory health and detect distress more quickly, and the "Smart Contact Lens Platform," which employs sensors embedded in a contact lens to track glucose levels for diabetics.

Read more about the EcoHelmet and other designs recognized by the James Dyson Foundation in 2016.

Original article on Live Science.

Mindy Weisberger
Mindy Weisberger is a senior writer for Live Science covering general science topics, especially those relating to brains, bodies, and behaviors in humans and other animals — living and extinct. Mindy studied filmmaking at Columbia University; her videos about dinosaurs, biodiversity, human origins, evolution, and astrophysics appear in the American Museum of Natural History, on YouTube, and in museums and science centers worldwide. Follow Mindy on Twitter.