I am fully aware this sounds like older gentlemen talking about “kids these days”. Let’s break it down. Dunning and Kruger laid it out nicely regarding the entry into the experience curve and self perception.
The thin, or minimal helmet has been a recurring product theme in my design sphere since my awareness began. The very first helmet that appeared in my wtf designdar, (desdar?) was a thin set of leather pads that bike racers wore in the 70s called the “hairnet helmet”. Sleek, stylish, and completely useless.
Yet it in 2023 at Eurobike, another young startup figured it out all over again.
D&K hint: No serious protective equipment company will ever make a “safer” claim. “Four times safer”. That means that lawyers can ask for four times the amount in a lawsuit when someone inevitability gets injured. All safety standards have been developed as a minimum consumer protection baseline and industry lawsuit protection. Meet the standard, you’ve done your job. Exceeding the standard is great, but it puts you into a expectations vs legal gray zone.
Inflabi will never past testing unless it is three to four times thicker. Even then, a percentage of any production will leak. Even worse, the impact energy is returned to the head “efficiently”, bounce, like springs in car bumpers instead of crumple zones. Good for keeping the products shape, horrible for gray matter.
I’ve seen padded knit cap companies make safety claims at trade shows. Marginally better than nothing.
Cool trendy young companies launch slim sleek objects that clearly look like snow helmets, all of the elements, plastic shell, foam padding, everything, yet impossibly thin. Examine the small print on label when they reach retail “this is hard hat, not a helmet”. Legalese: Disclaimer, No sport level protection.
Park and Diamond’s David Hall and Jordan Klein packaged their D&K idea into a slick Brooklyn hip package and boldly claimed a solution that was as impossible as the 1970s hairnet helmets. Yet the same desire to believe by the consumers fueled the millions in vapor-sales.
The superficial trappings of a product are easy to assemble now, renders, prototypes, and use attractive people ( looking at you Hövding ) to appeal to optimistic and less skeptical customers.
The answer is to combine fresh eyes with experienced minds, and accept the laws of physics and the limits of current technology. Rationally push the envelope, or grift, up to the individual.