For decades avid snowsports enthusiasts have been forced to make an important choice in headwear: beanie or helmet? The former is often preferred for comfort and warmth. The latter is, of course, safer but less comfortable and also runs the risk of losing you a few style points.
That precise conundrum is apparently what led the two researchers behind the Australia-based company ANTI Ordinary to ostensibly create a product that’s the best of both worlds – a warm knit beanie that’s soft and comfortable that also hardens on impact when you take a serious digger. Take a look at the elaborate demo starting at 2:03:
Yeah, that’s co-creator Rob Joseph taking a wooden plank to the dome by his good friend Brody.
The tech that makes this possible, as Joseph explained to Digital Trends, is a “unique blend of non-Newtonian materials.”
What does that mean for the non-science inclined?
“These materials start off soft and malleable, like a soft rubber, but when impacted instantly changes state and hardens,” Joseph said. “Materials with this molecular structure have been used in things like kneepads and elbow guards for riding dirtbikes previously, but by themselves they don’t have the properties to be really able to absorb all the force like a helmet should. We’ve patented a unique layering system that allows [us] to create a helmet that exceeds alpine helmet standards, while still being extremely comfortable.”
The concept of a material that’s malleable but hardens on impact, as Joseph alludes, isn’t new, but this does represent the first time the concept has been designed specifically for a ski and snowboard helmet.
According to Joseph when their product comes to market it will meet all the safety specifications and standards for an alpine helmet – meaning no need to compromise safety for comfort.
The creators plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in January. You can pre-register here.