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BYU students bring fresh perspectives on helmet design

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Posted at 10:03 PM, Apr 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-06 00:03:11-04

PROVO, Utah -- A group of students at Brigham Young University are taking inspiration from a variety of places as they work to design bike helmets.

The 3D prototypes were developed by the students as part of a project with Trek, and the 15-student class sought to break new ground in helmet design.

“They wanted to do something a little more fashionable, a little more, [to] fit a kind of more urban commuter type,” said Paul Skaggs, who is the chair of the industrial program at BYU.

The students carried bowls from a dollar store around in order to get a better sense of the needs of those who cycle every day.

“The idea is that they could discover problems that exist with bike helmets, for people who ride their bike every day,” Skaggs said. “Carrying them, where do you store them? Where do you hang them? Where do you put them, and how do you wear them?”

The students based their designs on set personas, including a police officer and a woman who owns a flower shop. BYU Student Christian Poulsen said these personas shaped their ideas.

“I wanted to give the feel of a hero so that when people look and see the police coming, they are reassured and know that help is on the way, so that was kinda the form story I wanted to tell,” he said.

BYU Student Jordan Hosler said the personas helped them make informed decisions about the helmet design, as they considered specific problems and circumstances.

Skaggs said representatives with Trek were pleased with the project’s results.

“One of the reasons why companies like this come and do sponsored projects with us is because when you work in a company you get kind of a narrower point of view, and so here’s a group that have no preconceived notions about bike helmets, especially in this category, and so what they get is fifteen kind of really fresh points of view on what this bike helmet could be,” he said.

Students said they hope Trek incorporates some of their ideas into future helmet designs. BYU Student Bryce Twede said he was glad to be involved.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “I think that Trek was a great thing for BYU to be able to connect with for this semester. They gave great feedback and let us explore on our own, rather than telling us what to do.”