A helmet is designed to protect the head from various types of violence and external impacts from everything from falls and collisions to projectiles and falling objects. Helmets are the oldest protective equipment known to man and can be traced back thousands of years. Today, there are helmets for a variety of uses. They are made of various materials, in a variety of designs and with different features, but they are all made to protect the human head from blows and impacts.
A full-face helmet protects the entire head, including the cheeks, chin, and face. A full-face MC helmet also has a visor that protects against strong winds and colliding insects when riding a motorcycle in summer. A snowmobile helmet with a breath box protects against cold and snow during snowmobile rides.
An open-face helmet protects the head, but not the chin or face. It feels cooler and airier when it’s hot, but provides less protection in the event of a crash.
A half-shell helmet protects the upper part of the head but does not go very far down the sides of the head or neck. This model is appreciated by people who don’t want a heavy MC helmet due to shoulder or neck pain, or who would prefer not to wear a helmet at all. Half-shell helmets are small and light, and have a vintage look that many people like, but they provide less protection than full-face helmets.
A sports helmet is intended to provide protection based on the conditions of each sport or activity. Helmets for cycling, ice hockey, climbing, and rafting need to meet different requirements because each sport has its own conditions and risks where a helmet can make a difference. Obviously, this affects the properties and design of the helmet.
Safety helmets include everything from helmets intended primarily to protect against accidents on construction sites and other industrial settings, to advanced and highly specialized helmets for use in emergency services, as well as by police and the military.
There are many different kinds of helmets. Regardless of the area of use, what the vast majority of helmets have in common is protection against so-called straight impacts and skull fractures. But it is rare to be standing still, fall to the ground and hit your head in a 90-degree straight-on impact.
Instead, your head is most likely to hit the ground at an angle. At the moment of impact, a rotational motion occurs that can cause the head to rotate more or less, depending on the object or surface of impact. The energy from the impact can be directed further into the head, where it can cause injury to the brain. Rotational motion is thus the result of oblique impacts to the head.
Rotational motion is the reason why Mips exists. We have over 25 years of research on rotational motion and helmet safety. An abundance of studies and data say the same thing: in the vast majority of accidents when someone hits their head, the impact is oblique. Research also clearly shows that an oblique impact entails an increased risk of damage to the brain.