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Would you pay $40 to check your helmet is safe?

Biltwell Lane Splitter Rusty Butcher retro motorcycle helmet

Riders may soon have peace of mind their helmet is safe to use after a drop or crash, thanks to a new invention that uses a laser to scan your helmet.

The Helmet Doctors who developed the device now want to know if riders would pay $40 for the safety scanning service?

You can take part in their quick 10-question online survey by clicking here.

Early feedback on the poll shows strong support for a helmet scan service.

However, some riders have expressed concern that authorities could make such scanning services compulsory.

Why helmet integrity is important?

helmet doctors scan
Scott, Brayden and family

The Helmet Doctors is a family venture founded by Brayden Robinson and his father, Scott, of the Sunshine Coast.

“We grew up with the kids and me riding motocross and we would often see kids crash then continue to use their helmets which appeared to be unscathed,” Scott says.

“When Brayden was hospitalised with a fractured skull, we were shocked to see how good the helmet still looked.

“So we started looking for a better way to assure helmets are still in a safe condition after a crash.”

helmet doctors scan
Brayden is taken away in the ambulance

This led Scott and Brayden to invent a helmet laser-scanning technique with the help of a Belgian lab who primarily work in aeronautical and spatial technologies.

This Belgian experimental science lab develops, operates and makes solutions to improve the design, mechanical strength and durability, under a vibratory environment, of equipment and structures.

Scott and Brayden did extensive research and development with this Belgian company and with the help of the Composites Research Group in the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering at The University of Queensland.

The father-and-son team investigated sound waves, x-rays and other non-destructive testing techniques.

“We found this laser scanning technique can categorically guarantee that, if there is any damage to the helmet’s outer shell, our technique will identify it.

“It’s ground-breaking, proven science.”

Helmet Doctors laser scan helmets
Helmet scanner

The Helmet Doctors have a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application that allows them to enter their patent application into any of 152 jurisdictions by 23 June 2020.  At present the application has been examined by the international PCT body and all but one claim has been found to be novel over identified existing technology .

The Helmet Doctors are keen to turn this into a commercial venture.

How the scan works

Scott says very few riders know exactly when to replace their helmet.

Manufacturing safety standards say a composite helmet has a lifespan of five years and, if used frequently, about three years.

But what if you drop it or have a crash?

Helmet Doctors laser scan helmets
Helmet scan identifies a flaw

“We have all heard how if you drop your helmet once you should replace it. But very few do this,” Scott says.

“No one knows how much impact a composite helmet can tolerate before the shell is critically weakened.

“Composite materials have many layers and tiny fibres that can be damaged in a fall.

“The impact energy is dispersed among the fibres and away from the brain which it is designed to do.

“This is why a dropped helmet may still look ok.

“However, the impact could have led to a small crack or splintering which you can’t see with the naked eye.

“Our device can view, read and record the helmet 100,000 times better than the naked eye and find if there are any cracks, splintering or deformations which would make the helmet defective and unable to withstand another impact.”

Helmet-scanning scheme

The Helmet Doctors plan to test their service first in South East Queensland.

Riders would take their helmet to a participating motorcycle dealer where they would leave it and pick it up a few days later.

The helmet would be sent to the nearest scanner depot where it would be scanned, assessed and returned.

Scott says the Federal Government is considering some funding for the safety service but needs to know if it would be well received by riders, racers and the motorcycle industry.

“As you could imagine this experimental laser camera is very expensive, but our goal is to make this service accessible and cheap enough for everyone to use it,” Scott says.

If the project is successful, they hope to extend the service to other states and overseas.

If you have a few minutes, click here to take this short 10-question survey and help the Helmet Doctors.

  1. As written here, the focus seems to be on the integrity of the outer shell and doesn’t address the integrity and energy absorption of the ESP liner

    1. Is it possible to damage the inner liner without first damaging the outer shell. Maybe if your an idiot and puncture it directly from inside. But it is possible to damage the outer shell and have only a slight or no mark so it appears to be ok. If this thing does what it says and is accepted in courst it will be amazing. I wonder how many maufacturers would permit their goods to be tested by this machine when they come off the production line. Would it provde a quality control improvement

  2. I can see the concept working fine if the service can also be mobile and go to where riders congregate, be it organised events or the more popular bike cafes. Remember when dyno’s were only bolted to a floor in a shop, then they moved out to events?
    The secure and damage free transport of potentially expensive and personal items such as a helmet needs to be considered. Was this or that scratch there before? Who compensates?

  3. Most riders would probably rather not ride with a helmet on if they could so it’s truly a pointless exercise.

  4. There is also a need to scan your heads dimensions when ordering a helmet online or even at a shop, in order to get a good f1it. Same for shoes.

  5. They need to scan the foam layer that absorbs the impact not just the outer layer otherwise its useless.

  6. It is a great concept. My son races and we have a shelf of used helmets because of being in accidents or being dropped. I would not hesitate to have them scanned . Safety first! The scanner would have to be very accessible to all riders and clubs .

  7. Great idea, would definitely scan my helmets. I don’t want find out they weren’t any good by accident. If you don’t want to do it then don’t but make it available for those who do. Bring it on.

  8. My issue is this test does not check the EPS liner for damage. The “white foam” inside your helmet actually does more to protect your brain than the hard shell. The EPS foam compress in an impact slowing the rate of deceleration of your brain. However EPS is a one hit wonder and stays crushed. So the shell of your helmet can be fine and the helmet is still a piece of trash that needs replacing.

    1. To compress the EPS liner.. you need an object like ( Your head ) ..Right? I think it is safe to say.. that if you had a crash… change that helmet… I am not talking about dirt bikes helmet… but rather street bikes.

      The service is more to check if dropped your helmet.. Like i did numerous times, and still ride with this helmet..Is it still safe to protect me on my motorcycle…

      I’ll bet i would be surprised…

      Anyway.. for any usage.. you need that shell to be sturdy …

      Wouldn’t you agree with this?

      40$ to check this out? No problem.. good idea… spread the news boy!

  9. There are different cases a helmet can be damaged.
    You’ll hit with the helmet on, depending of the impact, the inside “foam” structure is almost always damaged, at least if you were riding. -> In this cases the helmet goes on the shelf and is never used again!
    If you just hit the helmet towards a wall even if on, or whatever other object because you didn’t realise there was a shelf, etc. then the inner structure is most certainly not damaged. -> I will still use it
    If you drop the helmet from the bike or just falls off your hands, the inner structure ist not damaged. -> I will still use it.
    But in all cases the outer shell may have suffered a damage, which is not visible.
    Well in the first case I don’t wear the helmet anymore.
    In the other cases I would certainly invest the money to be sure the outer shell is still ok.

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