Nemanya Petrovic’s brainstorm came after he got a smack on the head.
The construction engineering officer at 14 Wing Greenwood is an avid cyclist, and one day in August went for a ride that ended in the hospital.
“There were only two of us that day, so I was really lucky that the other person was with me,” said Petrovic, 31. “I was going up this hill about 25 kilometres an hour, and my pedal actually broke when I was standing and I fell back off my bike, smashed the back of my head on the pavement, and the back of my helmet cracked fully through. After that I thought about helmet design. Had I not been wearing a helmet I would have been very severely injured.”
Petrovic wasn’t concussed that day, but started thinking about how bike helmets could provide even more protection.
“After that I started looking around online and saw some other products . . . because I wondered why nothing had been done,” he said. “I realized helmets really haven’t changed in 15 years, probably, so I thought we could implement new technology that we have into the helmet design.”
A professional mechanical engineer by training, he began work on developing a helmet with an airbag. Working on the project by himself so far, he’s come up with a non functioning prototype he calls HelmetWorX. It’s his first invention.
“I have seen another product that incorporates an airbag system, but it’s just a neck collar and it starts at about five hundred bucks,” said Petrovic. “I want to make it accessible to the every day rider.”
Petrovic has started a Kickstarter campaign, and is looking for $4,000 in funding. He expects to consult engineering friends in Toronto on the design of his invention.
“I’m hoping next summer to have a working prototype, if I get the funding for it. The Kickstarter campaign is November-December, helmet design from November to February 2018, then my electronic system design from January to May,” he said. “Part of that cost on Kickstarter is for the mould, so with the mould I can start producing them.”
Petrovic expects to spend considerable time of aesthetics, so his finished product looks similar to bike helmets that cylists are already wearing. He intends to manufacture the HelmetWorX in Halifax.
“I haven’t determined what kind of sensor I’m going to use, but it has to figure out right before you hit the ground when to deploy the system,” he said. “The software and the airbag would be the most important things on the helmet.”
Bill Spurr-The Chronicle Herald