(December 4, 2012): 6D Helmets is a new motorcycle helmet design firm who have developed an interesting helmet padding system to improve on the decades-old EPS traditional system.
The new 6D ATR-1 off-road helmet is the first product using the “Omni-Directional Suspension” (ODS) technology developed by 6D.
ODS is a patent-pending kinetic energy management system designed to protect the rider’s head and brain over a broader range of impact energy, particularly low–threshold energy prevalent in most accidents.
6D said that low-threshold impact energy is the primary cause of concussion and second impact syndrome, a condition in which the brain swells rapidly and catastrophically after a person suffers a second concussion before symptoms from an earlier one have subsided. This potentially deadly second blow may occur days, weeks or minutes after an initial concussion.
6D also stated that independent laboratory testing confirms a significant reduction in angular acceleration energy in helmets with the ODS system. Angular acceleration is the primary cause of rotational brain injury, which is a potentially deadly and life-changing impairment.
According to the company, the improved performance of the 6D ODS technology can reduce the likelihood and propensity of concussion over traditional helmet designs. 6D states that the design was “engineered to provide active free-motion capability within the helmet’s protective liner and exceed current required helmet standards”.
Helmets using the ODS system (close-up photo above) also have an internal EPS liner not unlike traditional helmets, but that is where the similarities end, according to the company.
With the ODS system, the EPS liner is divided, creating a compound-liner assembly. These two liners are separated by a very specific programmed array of “elastomeric isolation dampers” creating an air gap.
It is this array of isolation dampers surrounding the entire liner, combined with the air gap, that affords the free-motion suspension capability of ODS, according to 6D.
The unique “hourglass” shape designed into the elastomeric isolation dampers function with specially designed “frusto-conical ramping chambers” within the ODS system to produce a rapidly escalating spring rate under compressive load.
These same features allow the split liner system to shear omni-directionally within itself to provide improved performance against oblique impacts and angular acceleration demands. There is no other helmet technology that can offer these combined energy management features.
“Air-Gap Technology” Helmet Ventilation
The 6D ATR-1 helmet incorporates “Air-Gap Technology” (photo above), an advanced air flow management system designed to provide significant air flow throughout the entire helmet.
This air flow system aids in heat and moisture evacuation from within the comfort liner area providing a cooler and safer environment during extreme riding conditions. Eight intake ports channel fresh air into the helmet where it is managed by a network of 13 transfer ports and 5 exhaust ports to keep the air moving.
Aggressive channels designed on the interior surface of the inside EPS liner mate directly to the comfort liner for superior moisture transfer and evacuation from the helmet by means of the Air-Gap Technology air flow.
Impact Test Results
6D has published some graphs illustrating the differences in impact with the ATR-1 helmet and the ODS system compared to DOT and Snell standards. The company’s press information doesn’t make it clear whether or not these results were taken the same helmet using standard EPS compared to the ODS system: