technical design and
inflatable augmented reality ski helmet
This project was about developing a concept of a protective helmet with augmented reality. The Air Ride helmet is a ski helmet based on an air cushion system, which is composed of two layers. The inner pad consists of smaller air chambers, whereas the outer pad consists of large chambers. The outer pad is inflated with high pressure and thus absorbs the force during heavy falls. The inner pad is inflated directly on the head to adapt to the head shape of each user. Under the inner pad is a thin cloth made of merino wool, which ensures a comfortable fit on the head. A metal frame connects the two cushion layers together. This is collapsible by interrupting the sides and is held together by magnets in the unfolded state. The electronics of the helmet, such as the battery, control unit, air cartridges and loudspeakers, are located inside the ear pads.
To ensure protection in the event of a fall, the two air cushions are inflated one above the other. First, both air cushions are filled via the pump at the back of the helmet until the inner cushion has adapted comfortably to the head and gives a feeling of safety. Then the outer cushion is filled with high pressure via the pressure cartridge to absorb the energy during heavy falls. The outer filling is controlled via the side buttons. The two air cushions are connected via a one-way valve, so that air can only pass from the inner to the outer cushion. When filling with the pressure cartridge, the manually pumped pressure inside remains unchanged and only the outer cushion is filled with high pressure. The outer air cushion is divided into a few large chambers to provide additional protection and give the overall cushion greater rigidity.
The air cushions are made of polyurethane, are elastic and impermeable to air. Since the outer air cushion is filled with high pressure, increased strength must be guaranteed. Therefore it is covered with an aramid fibre fabric. This fabric is stab and tear resistant and defines the shape of the helmet through its stiffness. From the outside, the aramid fibre fabric is provided with a further PU layer to provide the necessary UV and moisture protection. This creates a matt surface that can be dyed in different colours. On the other hand, the elasticity of the PU is allowed for the inner padding so that the individual chambers can arch over each other. A merino wool cloth is attached to these with Velcro to ensure a comfortable feeling. The surrounding frame is made of stainless steel and offers the helmet the necessary stability. The housing of the electronics and the visor frame are made of polyethylene. A foam layer on the inside of the visor frame provides the necessary windproofness and offers additional wearing comfort.
The ventilation of the helmet is ensured by an air duct system. The wind enters through the air slits at the front and is distributed through the channel system. The warm exhaust air escapes through the air slits at the back. The inner chambers are arranged in a hexagonal pattern and bulge when inflated. This creates spaces which are connected to the ventilation ducts and in which the helmet's internal climate can circulate freely. The air cushions also provide an additional heat insulating function.
The concept of the Augmented Reality System for skiing was developed in cooperation with the Department of Computer Science at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. The AirRide system gives the user a new digital experience in winter sports through features as navigation, games and keeping in touch with friends.
Further features of the AR Interface are:
• navigation (see cover picture)
• statistics on driving behaviour (only visible when the user is not driving)
• cabin info: available places, food and drinks
• friend or child search function
• avalanche warnings
• video recordings / live videos via social media
• communication with friends who also use the air ride system
Our projects was exhibited at some fairs and exhibitions:
01.05 - 05.05.2019 Hannover Messe
19.05 -30.06.2019 DADesign, INTEF
Institut für neue technische Form, Darmstadt
12.11 - 15.11.2019 Elmia Subcontractor, Jönköping, Sweden
We also won the following awards:
Photography by Nathan O‘Looney /
Project by Jonas Engelhardt, Max Klyk, Rebecca Roll, Eliza Schneider and Victoria Lemke
Supervision Prof. Philipp Thesen and Prof. Tom Philipps