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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

Mindy Weisberger is a Live Science senior writer covering a general beat that includes climate change, paleontology, weird animal behavior, and space. Mindy holds an M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.