Today, Trek Bicycles and its helmet brand Bontrager revealed a new helmet technology called WaveCel. What looks like a sci-fi laser array nestled into a helmet is actually an arrangement of high-performance copolymer plastic that makes bike helmets a lot safer. How? By collapsing and crumpling during a crash, absorbing impact so that the skull and brain don’t.
WaveCel is the newest entry into a recent elaboration helmet technologies designed to protect against angular impacts, which make up most if not all crashes (think: the head is moving downward toward the ground but also forward with the speed of riding). Recently, Giro came out with a new form of MIPS that uses two independent shells and POC created SPIN, a system of gel pads that reduce the friction of contact between helmet and head. Both of these technologies address the issue of angular crashes.
Trek worked with an orthopedic surgeon and biological engineer who have previously designed a pelvis belt that’s widely used to stabilize patient’s bodies while being transported in EMS vehicles to land on WaveCel. Development lasted over four and a half years, and Trek tested more than 5,000 helmets to get to the final product, which reduces the probability of getting a concussion by 48 times.
Beyond the slime green visual, cyclists won’t notice WaveCel inside the new helmets, of which there are four models for mountain biking, commuting and road biking; it adds, on average, just 53 grams to a shell. Trek also guarantees each one against crashes for a year.
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