Coolshion is a new ski helmet that offers additional cooling and impact absorption for ski rescuers. It has rubber strips co-molded with the main plastic shell of the helmet. The vents of the rubber strips bring more ventilation to the heads of the rescuers, and provide additional impact absorption to the main shell of the helmet.
There is no ski helmet designed specifically for ski rescuers. Compared to regular skiers, ski rescuers walk a lot during the search and rescue instead of skiing. Also they need to take different kinds of equipment with them. This makes them generate heat inside the helmet. For regular ski helmet design, there are vents designed to improve the ventilation, but these are strictly limited since larger vents mean less protection to the head.
My solution is to have rubber strips injection molded with the main body of helmet. The design provides many small vents to let more cool air in but keep out snow and water. Since the vents are not in the main body of the helmet shell, they will not sacrifice safety performance. Instead, the rubber strips will offer additional impact absorption to the helmet to better protect rescuers.
This product’s main user is the ski rescuer. Also I can see regular skiers who want more ventilation in their helmet wanting to use this product too.
Rescuers using this product can benefit from more ventilation, which is important to their missions. During the mission, some will take their helmet off because their heads are too hot, which could put them in danger. Moreover, with this product, if they have accidents the helmet will offer additional protection through improved impact absorption.
Qiaokun Huang, Art Center College of Design
First, I need to find a design solution to increase ventilation without sacrificing safety performance. Increasing ventilation opening sizes might decrease the protection area of the helmet shell. Second, after I figured out and tested the solution, I used various methods to develop the visual language of the product to turn a strange looking helmet into a stylish product. Through user interviews, I found that many ski rescuers are gear enthusiasts and they care about every aspect of their helmets, including performance and style. Finally, during the prototyping phase, the making of the rubber ventilation strips was a big problem since the prototyping method did not have the same injection pressure of mass production to make the rubber fill every corner of the mold.
The main body of the helmet uses soft shell plastic for high impact absorption and the rubber vent strips use middle to high density EVA rubber. The rubber strips and plastic shell will be molded together with double shot injection molding to maintain the integrity of the whole helmet instead of using adhesive.
The solution is unique and novel because it offers both additional ventilation and protection through the rubber ventilation strips. Traditionally, adding ventilation works against keeping the integrity of helmet for protection performance. In this design, they work together. In addition, the final design execution of this solution is stylish, which will make this product more easily accepted by ski rescue teams.
First production will be aimed towards the small market of ski rescuers. Early production volumes will ramp up slowly as the manufacturing and tooling is refined. As more and more rescuers wear the product, it will get more exposure to the public (and manufacturing process will be up to capacity) and then this product will be sold to the mainstream market.
I intend to target this product to sport market, especially for ski rescuers and young and dynamic skiers who do not like the heat accumulated inside the helmet during their intense and relatively dangerous ski activity. This product can serve them through offering additional ventilation and protection.