Photo: Fraunhofer IWM
Safety-minded cyclists often struggle to figure out whether their bike helmets actually need retiring. Thankfully, crackerjack scientists in Germany caught whiff of this dilemma and realized that the nose knows the answer: a bike helmet that makes a stink when it requires replacing. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials cracked the code which allows them to inject microcapsules of smelly oils into the polypropylene forming the base of this bike helmet.
If even the tiniest of cracks appears in helmet parts that are crucial to safety, the capsules release a stank that will have you (and likely those around you) rushing to get a new helmet — stat. The worse the damage to the helmet, the stronger the odor, making it tough to put off replacing this life-saver.
While you could bypass this question entirely, opting instead for the single-use “invisible airbag” helmet, I think most people would probably prefer to use their heads and follow their noses. After all, whiff technology like this, you should be able to avoid cracking your head — if not jokes — all because of the smell.
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