Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Neck-Protecting Helmet

PostedFebruary 14, 2010

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Randy Atkins: When an athlete flies head-first into an object, his head suddenly stops…but his body keeps going.  If neck and head are in perfect alignment, his neck takes the full force of stopping his body’s forward momentum.  Peter Cripton, a University of British Columbia engineer, has devised a helmet to prevent that.

Peter Cripton: When the impact occurs, instead of the head simply stopping, we keep the head moving and we guide it into either a nodding forward motion or a backward motion.

Randy Atkins: The helmet does this using an inner and outer shell connected by guideways with a deployment mechanism that…

Peter Cripton: …holds the two shells together until you have an impact where it has to deploy and create this motion.

Randy Atkins: With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103-point-5 F-M and WTOP-dot-com.


The helmet is still undergoing testing, but may be available in a few years.




  • More on the helmet from the University of British Columbia