To say there’s a wrinkle in Dr Ken Phillips’ motorcycle helmet design would be no exaggeration. But rather than being an unfortunate error, the wrinkle in question is built into the design of his Phillips Head Protection System (PHPS), now being exploited commercially by Belgian motorcycle helmet maker Lazer Helmets SA.
Phillips, a medical doctor, has spent 16 years developing his idea – “a skin to cover a motorcycle helmet, which mimics the action of the skin on the skull,” into a technological reality. With such a covering, the wrinkling absorbs/deflects some 67 percent of the rapid and highly damaging rotational force which can cause both damage to the blood vessels running between the skull and the brain, as well as, “severe and untreatable damage to tiny blood vessels and to nerve fibres in the brain,” said Phillips, in an 18 March telephone interview from his base in the London suburb of Pinner.
Such damage is not necessarily fatal — sufferers can recover – but there is no treatment guaranteed to repair the injury, he said.
The figure of 67-percent energy absorption came from a digital study on Lazer’s Superskin helmets with PHPS technology, carried out at the French National Scientific Research Centre (CNRS) at the Louis Pasteur University (ULP) in Strasbourg, France.
Researchers, led by CNRS’s Prof Remy Willinger, used computerised recreations of head injuries to assess the effect of the Superskin solution. With the skin, the risk…