BMW has created a new helmet for their employees and it mimics a pomelo, or rather, inspired by it. The design was created by the BISS research project where BISS stands for Bio-Inspired Safety Systems.
BISS is a consortium of seven partners who research on alternative designs for the BMW group.
New materials with up to 20-per-cent-better protective properties are the result of the BISS research project headed by the BMW Group. What is unique is that all advances are based on designs borrowed from nature – BISS stands for Bio-Inspired Safety Systems. The BMW Group worked alongside adidas, ORTEMA, phoenix and uvex, as well as the Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering Denkendorf, Germany, the Department of Polymer Engineering at the University of Bayreuth and the Plant Biomechanics Group of the University of Freiburg, with additional support from partners such as the company Innovationsmanufaktur in Munich. The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research subsidised the project as part of its “Technical Textiles for Innovative Applications and Products – NanoMatTextil” programme.
So why the pomelo fruit? It has natural shock absorbers which can be copied. For example, when the fruit falls from a high tree, it doesn’t split open and the insides remain undamaged. Much like what we would like for motorcyclists, such that their heads don’t split open in case of an accident. The initial aim of the research project was to analyse the tissue formation, cell structure and functioning of these protection mechanisms and explore their suitability for use in industrially-manufactured products. From there, the next step was to refine the corresponding fibre composites, layer structures and fibre orientation. The project then went on to examine how functions that had previously been difficult to reconcile, like “crash protection”, “penetration resistance” and “damping”, could be combined in innovative protective systems using layering modelled on biological structures.
These type of new technologies will be used and implemented for BMW staff to enhance employee protection.