All motorcycle helmets use polystyrene as a shock absorber, and for that purpose it works quite well. This is the same white foam that you’d find in refrigerators and coolers. The problem with this is that if you are involved in an accident one of the biggest dangers you would face is the increase in brain temperature and swelling, and polystyrene will accentuate that effect since it is an insulator.
If your brain swells too much it can close off the vessels and restrict blood flow, which can lead to brain damage and death. After a crash keeping your head cooler can have a dramatic impact on your changes of escaping brain damage…and death.
With the Thermahelm it also has polystyrene on the inside, just like any other helmet, but what makes this helmet unique is that it also has a layer of water and salt which will combine at the moment of impact (think of the type of cold packs that athletes use) to create a cooling effect and can prevent swelling of the brain which can allow precious time for emergency personnel to arrive.
Invented by Julian Powers after a basketball mishap where he accidentally elbowed a player in the head. After getting an ice pack he later gave it to his friend to put into his helmet on the ride home and an idea was born. According to Powers, there haven’t been any significant changes in the design of motorcycle helmets…until he invented this technology.
The turnaround time to retro fit your existing helmet is 5 days according to their website.
Of course critics say that the problem with this type of technology is that it ignores a more important issue: cyclists and drivers need to more careful on the road no matter what type of lifesaving gear they are wearing.
Thermahelm isn’t available for purchase yet, it is still in the prototype stage. You can visit the company website at: http://www.thermahelm.com and sign up to receive updates as soon as they become available.