Bicycle helmets have been shown to decrease the risk of a serious or fatal head injury by 70%. But bicycle helmets are made of plastic and expanded polystyrene (EPS), both fossil fuel-based and bad for the environment.
StudioMOM, a product and brand design studio based in the Netherlands, was already experimenting with mycelium and hemp when it decided to make a helmet. Mycelium, the root system of mushrooms, can grow in any kind of shape and creates a material that is very similar to polystyrene. The team experimented with material samples until they found the right composition for a helmet. In the design, they used the growth and structure of the mycelium. The helmet has several layers to increase strength, while there is also room for airflow to keep the head cool.
For the chin strap and the outer shell of the helmet, the studio used hemp textile, a biodegradable material to which the mycelium attaches itself in the growth process. The woven structure of the textile gives extra strength to the helmet. When the helmet is finished, the mycelium is heated so that it stops growing.
The team created a proof of concept. Currently, they are looking for partners to develop the helmet further.