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Old 12-06-06, 12:51 PM   #1
bikiola
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ribcap d30 - wool hat as helmet?!?

anyone heard of these?

ribcap

according to livescience,

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have discovered a complex elastomeric compound they call d3o that is both soft and hard.

A shear thickening material, it is flexible when moved slowly, but when it is compresssed by an impact, its molecules lock together. The material stiffens, spreading the impact over a greater area. The Swiss company Ribcap is bringing out a new line of headgear for snowsports based on this material. The Ribcap is a combination soft, flexible beanie and tough helmet.

After five years of development, the Ribcap team settled on d3o as the material of choice. Ruth Gough, d3o's brand manager describes her own experience using the Ribcap while out on the piste:

... she [Gough] had a rather dramatic fall that terminated on her head. "I was a bit dazed, and I almost wasn't sure whether I had actually hit my head, although the concern I got from those who saw it assured me that I really had, and quite hard!"

This is a common reaction to real world d3o impact trials. d3o is so comfortable it feels like an extension of you. It's very easy to forget it's there, and you'd be forgiven for thinking, in that split second before you hit the ground "this is never going to work..."
(From d3o technology and Ribcap [pdf])


AND NO i do not work or anything for this company. but the concept sounds amazing.
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Old 12-06-06, 01:12 PM   #2
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It's made of Silly Putty?
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Old 12-06-06, 03:47 PM   #3
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FWIW, the reason bike helmets work like they do is because they absorb energy from a fall (by breaking) and keep that energy from reaching your head where it can do a lot more damage. If you are wearing a stocking cap made of this stuff, then it doesn't really absorb energy, it just spreads the impact out a little (like if you had a hard shell wrapped around your head). Bike helmets work because their hard shell makes sure that the crushing happens an inch or so away from your skull.

I'm not sure if/how this stuff would be any better than a regular foam helmet. It sounds like it was intended for use in the snow, where different kinds of bad things can happen to your head than on the road.

What would be interesting was if this stuff could break like a foam helmet under impact stresses, then re-join the broken parts once the impact stresses are gone, like it really was made of Silly Putty.
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Old 12-06-06, 04:10 PM   #4
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We'll see if the ANSI people will put this on their helmet testing machine.

An interesting idea for snow sports...I'm not sure I like the idea of wearing one of these during a triple-digit SoCal summer commute.
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Old 12-06-06, 04:25 PM   #5
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I find it telling that this is a website that caters to "Dirt Surfers" and from the looks of it dirt surfing is a VERY expensive hobby involving a very large kite and a two-wheeled skateboard. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing.
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Old 12-06-06, 07:51 PM   #6
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Looks the same as rugby head protectors.
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Old 12-06-06, 09:06 PM   #7
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*anything* is better than nothing
the site said that these things were designed for people who don't wear helmets
so if these cause them to put on some protection then great!
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Old 12-06-06, 09:54 PM   #8
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I like the concept because they are warmer than a traditional plastic helmet. However, I doupt these soft helmets are just as safe as a regular cheap plastic one.

From the article:

IMPORTANT: Please note that although Ribcap with d3o technology offers much greater protection than a regular cap, Ribcap does not offer complete head protection nor comply with any standards established for protective headgear like helmets
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Old 12-06-06, 11:49 PM   #9
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Looks like it might work well for cyclists with the exception of one thing. They'd sweat their asses off in any temp. over 40 degrees F. I might try one if it can be made out of material designed for use in warmer weather & if studies & tests prove it will protect as well if not better then a helmet.

Though I haven't had an accident in quite a few years. I've cracked/compressed enough helmets to know they're a great idea. A lot would have to be proven to me before I'd even consider wearing what amounts to a stocking cap for protection.
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Old 12-07-06, 08:15 AM   #10
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I would be concerned about hitting an object that would go between the ribs of protective material and simply push them out of the way, tearing the fabric and impacting/penetrating the skull. It appears to only give protection for direct impact and only localized on that portion of the rib that takes the direct hit. It also isn't fastened to the head so it could fall off during a fall if your arm or hand or something else brushes against your head during a fall. Additionally, if the material were to deform during a fall into a shape that then became rigid as it impacted, the protective material itself could become a sharp, hard object that could penetrate the skull or poke your eye out.

I also noticed that the LiveScience article is on the "Science of Fiction" page, followed by science fiction references. Over the years, I have learned to take a lot of information posted on LiveScience with a grain of salt.

To me, it sounds more like trendy marketing hype for a new material "solution" looking for a "problem." Personally, I would not feel protected if wearing one of their hats skiing or otherwise. I hope their liability insurance is paid up for the inevitable lawsuits from people who believed they could do a head plant and come out unscathed.

I'll wait for the concrete test results from an independent safety lab that tests helmets that say their hats are approved as a safety device before I trust my head to them.

No thank you.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:22 AM   #11
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I would like to know if it returns to its flexible state after the impact, and if so how quickly. Might be handy for winter riding, but I am pretty happy with my current helmet.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:48 AM   #12
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Damn that's FUGLY!
Like wearing a Borg Beehive on your noggin.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:49 AM   #13
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100 bucks for a hat????
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Old 12-07-06, 04:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiznaz
100 bucks for a hat????
Obviously you haven't gone shopping at any of your local trend-o-matic stores like Gap or Hollister recently, Shizzy.
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Old 12-07-06, 06:01 PM   #15
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I thought GAP was meant to be cheap!

I did pay over 100 bucks for my helmet though, and its a totally unfashionable hat.
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Old 12-07-06, 07:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankenbiker
I would be concerned about hitting an object that would go between the ribs of protective material and simply push them out of the way, tearing the fabric and impacting/penetrating the skull.
No thank you.

Seems to me that this scenario would apply to a traditional vented bike helmet.
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Old 12-07-06, 08:34 PM   #17
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I think the d3o compound is pretty amazing; I read about compounds that have dynamic properties based on rapid changes in their environment and I found how extremely difficult it is to develop these simple compounds that have "split personalities".

Although it is pretty amazing, I highly doubt that this compound (when in the form of thin pads) would protect a cyclist from a hard fall onto cement. When a foam helmet comes into contact with the concrete, the hard foam disperses the impact across the entire helmet and then when it has absorbed a certain critical amount of energy from the impact it breaks into pieces b/c the foam can't absorb anymore energy without releasing some.
The d3o pads, though hard at impact are very thin and I suspect if I planted my head onto cement the pads would stiffen and absorb/disperse the energy of the fall, but simply not enough to prevent me from getting really hurt. The amount of energy it could absorb/disperse would be too low to prevent your head from being very jostled, if not seriously injured.

If these pads were thicker and could break into many small pieces I could see how they could absorb enough energy to protect your head.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:31 PM   #18
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y'know, we could test this.... buy one of these hats and stress test it. put some cardboard on the ground, put one of the hats on top of it and bash it with a sledge hammer.
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Old 12-13-06, 01:06 PM   #19
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Had a minor spill last week and ended up with the heel of my hand bruised up. Not so bad. But, I was thinking that, while this material might not match the performance of current hardshell helmets, it might make some sweet apparel. It could be inserted into the heels of gloves, over the hip and tail bones on shorts/tights, and over spine and kidneys on jerseys. Probably wouldn't be as noticeable as the hard mtn. bike armor around now (although, I've never used that stuff so I couldn't say).
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Old 12-13-06, 05:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Severian
Obviously you haven't gone shopping at any of your local trend-o-matic stores like Gap or Hollister recently, Shizzy.
I saw a 200 dollar hat a few weeks ago. It was Prada.
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Old 12-13-06, 05:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bike756
I saw a 200 dollar hat a few weeks ago. It was Prada.
Did it also function as a bike helmet?
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