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Galleries // 2013 Spark:Concept // Aiguille
Winner - Platinum
Designer: Mathias Hintermann
Design Type: Short Track Speed Skater Headgear
Company / Organization / School: Art Center College of Design
This product introduces a headgear without a chinstrap to deliver maximal comfort for the competitive skater. It improves aerodynamics through an innovative flexible structure, which allows an active crumble zone. This absorbs the impact and then goes back into its actual shape. Short track speed skating is a high-speed sport – reaching up to speeds over 40 miles per hour. The athletes are exposed to serious head injuries when they hit their head against the ice or the soft pads in the ice rink. Due to numerous races throughout each year, the helmet is exposed to multiple impacts. Personal research has also shown that the chinstrap is uncomfortable for the athlete. The headgear is designed to be integrated into the suit, preventing crashes where the helmet can be liable to fall off. Mock-ups tested on the athlete showed improvements in use. Aiguille is custom fit and made for professional athletes. A recent publication published by the Canadian short track speed skating team in July 2012 revealed that helmets need to be smaller and rounder to better protect the athlete. This data is supported by a research conducted by MIT in 2012. The Vinyl Nitrile used in Aiguille generates 27% better results than using current EPS. The foam combined with fluid channels can withstand multiple impacts. Aiguille’s asymmetric design reflects the asymmetric nature of the sport. The design takes away the outdated, unrefined impression of the headgear and gives the sport a truer representation of what it is: extreme performance.