Brain swelling is the immediate effect of head injury and it is a proved fact that the stopping of this effect can make the difference between life and death because of the pressure that the brain has to subdue when it meets the skull. This is precisely what paramedics are trying to prevent when applying a cold pack on the head of accident victims. So hearing about ThermaHelm having created the Brain Cooling Helmet, we started digging deeper into this potential life saving idea, only to find that the prototype stage is now completed and it should see production.
ThermaHelm’s Cooling Helmet works by storing separately gel or water and ammonium nitrate in a slim plastic packet positioned in the lining. During a serious crash, tiny spikes pierce through the separate compartments, causing the ammonium nitrate to mix with the gel or water, triggering an endothermic reaction that cools the brain, dramatically reducing the effects of the crash. Furthermore, it features an LED indicator that warns premature activation, small cameras that are able to record those crucial 60 seconds before a motorcycle crash, integrated Bluetooth headphones and fog-free visors. In other words, it brings helmets into the 21st century.
Press release and video are attached after the jump.
A brain-cooling device for motorcycle helmets could save thousands of lives each year.
The patented invention, called ThermaHelm™, performs like an INSTANT ice pack when activated by sudden impact. It reduces brain swelling and the risk of long-term brain damage and will give paramedics and Accident and Emergency teams vital extra minutes to perform their life-saving skills.
Although the invention is at prototype stage, it has prompted significant interest from motorcycle helmet manufacturers around the world.
The development team, led by inventor J. J. Preston-Powers, believe the brain-cooling device can be adapted for other at-risk activities where helmet use is necessary.
The technology has been praised by the Government’s UK Trade and Investment division, who are working with the ThermaHelm™ team to reach international markets.
The device has been included in UKTI’s Global Entrepreneur Programme and next month (December) will be promoted through 100 British embassies around the world.
Latest figures show that there were 6,049 fatal motorcycle accidents in the UK in 2008. Of these, most involved some form of brain trauma that would have been alleviated by the ThermaHelm brain cooling device.
ThermaHelm’s J. J. Preston-Powers, known inside the company as it’s ThermArchitect, said the concept was acknowledged by the scientific and medical communities, but never before had anybody explored how to build it into a crash helmet.
He said: “It has long been recognised that neurological deterioration in trauma victims is dramatically reduced when a hypothermic state is induced.
“Medical practitioners have made use of this knowledge by deliberately inducing mild hypothermia in patients prior to emergency treatment or during surgical operations. It causes the body’s vital functions to slow down, thus reducing the chances of brain damage occurring in the patient.”
Jullian said that by taking these medical advances and applying them to the area of TBI (Traumatic Brian Injury) opened up a world of exciting new life-saving opportunities.
“This is a hugely exciting innovation that has the potential to save thousands of lives around the world every year,” he said. “There has been strong interest from helmet manufacturers in Europe as far afield as Japan and we are now working hard to turn that interest into firm licensing agreements that will afford riders better fortification from long-term brain damage and death in the event of an accident.”
The ThermaHelm™ team has been given great support from UK Trade and Investment, the Government’s international business development organisation.
Derek Goodwin, Head of the Global Entrepreneurs Programme at UK Trade & Investment, saw the potential of the invention at an early stage.
He said: “We are very impressed with the approach taken by Jullian Preston-Powers in developing his new brain cooling crash helmet technology. We look forward to helping ThermaHelm reach global markets with their innovation and becoming a worldwide life saving advancement applicable to all forms of safety helmets.”
ThermaHelm has been secretly working on this product for two years from a research base at the Sussex Innovation Centre in Brighton, East Sussex. The innovation centre is part of Sussex University and has given great support and guidance to the technology. ThermaHelm’s Chief Technology Officer, Riccardo Anzil is also the inventor of the seatbelt airbag device.
The ThermaHelm™ team has been liaising with Bridget Harris at the University of Edinbourough, who are developing a stationary brain cooling helmet for universal placement in hospital ER and A&E departments.
How it Works:
Two light-weight and non-toxic chemical packs are integrated into the helmet lining and have multiple trigger points that activate the cold pack on impact.
The technology is not expected to increase the cost of a crash helmet more than £150.00. ThermaHelm™ branded helmets will also be made available made of carbon fibre, which became standard in F1 in 2009, and will be competitively priced. New ThermaHelm™ technologies include:
front and rear flat micro-cameras, similar to the ones used in mobile phones, will record 60 seconds pre-impact video onto a MicroSD card
LED indicator that warns when the chemical pack has been activated
seemless Bluetooth™ communication
double ‘glazed’ visors which completely prevents dangerous fogging of riders’ vision.