RESHAPE19 | Cognified matter
Smart product category

Designer: James novak



Concept Idea
Recreational and professional cycling is typically performed outdoors where environmental conditions, as well as cyclist physiology, are constantly changing. However, most bicycle helmets don’t change; they are static products designed to strike a balance between aerodynamic performance and ventilation, and cannot be perfectly suited to all conditions. For example, specialist time trial helmets are designed with almost no ventilation, providing minimal drag forces, but can
only be worn for short durations else risk causing an athlete to overheat.
With cyclists increasingly wearing sensors to monitor performance, Dynaero is a prototype helmet that connects to this data and uses it to automate the balance between aerodynamics and ventilation in real-time. For example, during fast down-hill descents or finish line sprints, the helmet will close ventilation, maximising aerodynamic performance of the cyclist by 3.7%. When aerodynamics are less important, for example climbing slowly up-hill, the vents open to their maximum to increase airflow and help cool the cyclist. Both performance and the health of the cyclist are improved through this intelligent helmet design.

Function and Prototype Fabrication
Dynaero is imagined as a customised system for individual riders, both physically through additive manufacturing, and electronically through future machine learning capabilities.
The prototype version has been produced using selective laser sintered nylon, and is designed to fit the head geometry of the designer with his name embedded as a detail. Prototype electronics feature an Arduino Uno, Bluetooth sensor, micro servo and a custom-built mobile phone application that uses the built-in accelerometer to determine speed, controlling the opening of the vents. Future versions of the helmet will be connected to a range of cycling and wearable sensors.
Dynaero has been tested in a wind tunnel alongside several commercial helmets and earlier 3D printed prototypes at Monash University. Data shows that the design can vary the aerodynamic drag on a cyclist by 3.7% between the open and closed ventilation states, and achieve a range of aerodynamic values in-between, striking balance between aerodynamic and ventilation needs. With vents closed, the design is able to achieve aerodynamic performance approaching that of a specialist time-trial helmet.


Dissemination Strategy
The results of aerodynamic testing have been published in the June 2019 issue of the ‘Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology,’ available here: Collaboration is sought from helmet manufacturers to conduct future research. As a PhD project, early concepts were also presented at several conferences, including the ‘Wearable Tech in Sport Summit’ (Melbourne, Australia 2016) and the ‘Beyond 3D Printing: The Evolving Digital Landscape’ forum (Brisbane, Australia 2015).