This recyclable paper bike helmet just won a prestigious design award

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ecohelmet

Many cities around the world - from New York City to Buenos Aires  - are investing more in bike share systems as a form of public transportation. But the bikes don't come with helmets, so riders must either bring their own - which can be cumbersome to carry around - or go without. 

A new invention, called the EcoHelmet, may offer a solution. Made of paper, the device is collapsible, and is designed with bike share programs in mind. 

helmet

On November 17, inventor  Isis Shiffer won the 2016 International James Dyson Award, a prestigious design accolade given to university students, for the helmet design.  Shiffer imagines the helmets could be sold in vending machines near bike share stations for $5 each.

The UK-based award comes with a £30,000 prize ($31,800), which  Shiffer plans to use to produce more of the helmets.

A  28-year-old New Yorker,  Shiffer told the BBC that she realized a paper helmet would be "a tough sell," since the material doesn't seem strong enough to protect you in an accident. But the EcoHelmet has a radial honeycomb design similar to that of foldable decorations, which Shiffer says makes it as solid as a traditional polycarbonate plastic helmet. So far, she told CNN , it's been reliable at absorbing impact in the tests she's done so far.

The helmet also has a  biodegradable coating that makes it resistant to light rain for up to three hours, and it's recyclable, so used helmets could potentially be turned into new ones.

Shiffer has said she hopes to conduct more research to make the EcoHelmet stronger, more more water-resistant, and ready for mass production.  There's no timeline yet, however, on when and where the EcoHelmet will be available. 

Here's a video that shows how it works:

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