Protecting the head the “natural” way.
The human body is a marvel of bioengineering. One of the most precious organs in our body, the brain, is floating in cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid is our head’s natural “padding” against low impacts. When we speed things up, however, the fluid in our head isn’t enough to protect the brain. A higher speed impact will cause the brain to hit the cranial bone, the top part of our head which can, in turn, cause a concussion or even bruising on the brain. This is where helmets come in to help save the day.
Debatably the most important piece of gear adds an extra layer of protection around the head and helps absorb the energy of an impact. Instead of your head and ultimately the brain suffering from the blow, the helmet takes the brunt of the hit. Most helmets nowadays use foam as a shock-absorbing material. Canadian company Fluid Inside decided to take a different approach and rely instead on the protection our brain already benefits from: fluid.
In fact, the company is responsible for designing Fluid Pods protectors meant to be used inside a variety of helmets, including motorcycle helmets. The liquid inside the pods has been designed to mimic cerebrospinal fluid—the same clear liquid found around our brains. The brand not only creates the pods but has also developed the ideal “mapping” for different types of sports. Impact differ from one sport to the other, which means that different sports require different pod sizes and placement. So for instance, the pods will be placed differently in a motocross helmet compared to, say, a ski helmet.
While standard foam linings have proven their efficiency against linear impacts, companies are starting to study protection against rotational force. With the Fluid Inside products, the pods are able to absorb the energy coming from all directions, meaning that they address both linear impacts and rotational force.
Fluid Inside recently teamed up with Fox Racing to design the V3 helmet, a motocross lid with Fluid Pods technology. We can hope the pods will make their way into other helmets—in case the MIPS purchasing the company isn’t a big enough hint.
While it is a known fact that once you’ve been in a crash and hit your head with a helmet, the lid needs to be replaced because the foam absorbed the energy of the impact but also lost its shape in the process, there is no say about whether the pods are “reusable”. We reached out to Fluid Inside to learn more about its technology and have yet to hear back. Should the liquid-filled pods retain their shape and energy-absorbing properties even after an impact, this means that future motorcycle helmets could be reused instead of being discarded. This could open a door to the creation of helmets that are not only safer, but also more resilient.