By Mirianna la Grasta
HERX is the London-based company behind the first custom-fit, 3D-printed, cycling helmet with the rider’s safety at its core. It was founded by Jamie Cook in 2018 and began shipping its first helmets in the summer of 2019. The algorithms used to create each helmet are the result of five years of research and testing at the University of Oxford and UCL.
HEXR’s mantra is: “No two heads are the same, so why should helmets be?” The company’s goal is “to save lives by redefining head protection”, and it does so by creating made-to-fit and safer helmets. HEXR is the first concept to move away from foam inner shells, designing a product that is made to the precise size and curvature of the customer’s head. The brand uses 3D printing, as well as 100% renewable raw materials to do so.
The algorithms adopted to design and manufacture each helmet come from five years of research, testing and prototype creation. During his studies and research at UCL and the University of Oxford, founder Jamie Cook realised that by using a honeycomb structure in the inner shell of bike helmets he would be able to double the effectiveness and safety of the product. HEXR says its product can control impact 68% better than most bike helmets made with foam. Its structure, made of hexagonal cells, has been proven to reduce the risk of brain injury following an accident. At present, the HEXR helmet is £299, which includes the fitting process.
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How Do HEXR Helmets Come to Life?
Once orders are placed online, HEXR ships a fitting cap to the cyclist’s address within 48 hours. The self-fitting process can then be completed by customers anywhere, via the HEXR app, in just five minutes. The app connects to the scanning cap and it uses an augmented reality guidance system to make sure each customer is supported throughout the self-fitting process. Then, HEXR reviews the fitting before sending the helmet to production, and the data collected is used to map out the honeycomb structure that forms the inner core of the product. Every helmet is manufactured by using a plant-based material made entirely from castor bean oil.
By using Polyamide-11, which is sourced by Arkema through the Pragati initiative, HEXR supports sustainable farming practices. This material is a more viable and sustainable alternative to petroleum, which is normally used in the production of most foam helmets on the market. The helmets come to life at HEXR’s 3D-printing facility in Newbury, England. Each honeycomb core is then finished and dyed black, before undergoing final checks. Lastly, the helmet is assembled with an aerodynamic outer shell, chin straps, padding, and an optional ratchet system. The outer shell comes in two colours, black and white, and it’s interchangeable.