Inspired by the woodpecker, a species that sustains severe impact to its head every time it pecks, Anirudha Surabhi set out to create a helmet capable of more efficiently absorbing the substantial force cyclists experience during a crash. The result of his efforts: the Kranium, a cardboard bike helmet.

Although a material as seemingly flimsy as cardboard would appear an unlikely candidate for increased protection, cardboard’s ability to flex allows the Kranium to withstand up to three times more impact energy than a standard expanded polystyrene helmet. In addition to being able to absorb a greater amount of force in the event of a crash, the cardboard helmet is also fifteen percent lighter than traditional helmets.

In the video below, Kranium’s designer goes into great detail about the genesis and production of the highly unusual bike helmet:

To call the helmet cardboard might be a bit simplistic, but the Kranium’s “Dual Density Honey Comb Board” is definitely in the same family as the material more commonly used for pizza boxes than protective headgear. Still, it’s hard to argue with the helmet’s strong showing in safety tests conducted throughout Europe.

As of now, Surabhi’s design is being adapted by the Formula 1 team Force India for use in their own helmet design, and is also expected to be released sometime this month after two years of development and testing.

What do you think? Are the Kranium’s strong safety ratings enough to convince you, or would you still be reluctant to trust a cardboard helmet in the event of a crash?


Jason is a regular contributor to the GJEL Accident Attorneys Blog.