MIPS is the new big thing when it comes to helmets and your safety. MIPS stands for “Multi-directional Impact Protection System” which is a protective technology embedded in the helmet that prevents harmful rotational forces from causing brain injury. In simple words, MIPS is the trending technology in our helmet that reduces harmful forces from damaging our brain when our bike crashes.
What is a MIPS Bike Helmet?
A MIPS bike helmet has the MIPS Brain Protection System embedded between a helmet padding and the EPS. The EPS is a quality foam used to reduce energy and prevent sudden jerks from affecting the brain. This Multi-directional Impact Protection System works inside the helmet to prevent forces from damaging the head and brain and causing brain injuries.
MIPS History – Who Invented MIPS?
Although MIPS may be a buzzword these days, yet the technology has decades of work done under its belt. It was developed by the scientists at the Karolinska Hospital and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden). Around two decades of research led to the engineering of MIPS technology.
In 1997 Hans Von Holst, a Swedish neurosurgeon started doing research about helmet construction. He joined hands with a scientist at the Royal Institute of Technology, Peter Halldin, to come up with a more evolved version of bicycle helmets to avoid brain injuries. Later three biomechanical researchers joined them to form the company MIPS AB.
The company MIPS AB was founded in 2001, and since then, there have been numerous studies carried out focusing on head and neck injuries. Using advanced methodologies, the company focuses on predicting and avoiding head and neck injuries.
What was once Hans von Holst’s vision to save lives using clinical and technical skills resulted in the first MIPS-equipped helmet in 2007. And there was no turning back. MIPS has sold more than 14.2 million MIPS BPS technology to more than 103 helmet manufacturers.
How MIPS Tests Helmets?
From decades of research it was observed that if the rotational acceleration is decreased, the probability of the brain getting severe injuries can be drastically reduced. After conducting more than 31,000 helmet safety tests from within the company and several tests by third-party testing, it has been confirmed that MIPS BPS technology adds protection against various types of impacts from harming the brain. Our fragile human brain may not be able to withstand the impact of harmful rotational motion. Your MIPS-equipped helmet will minimize this impact as the MIPS BPS technology enables the head to move inside the helmet. This prevents the negative rotational impacts from transferring to the brain.
The MIPS helmet test laboratory is situated in Stockholm, Sweden. For over twenty years, they have been testing their concepts and design to come up with the safest helmet possible developed together with the helmet brand.
The MIPS helmet laboratory is a state-of-the-art complex that includes 4 test machines that carry out the experiments. They are specially designed to copy real-world cases and with the help of their modern tools and technology, complete data is obtained. This data includes collision impressions using advanced cameras so that the scientists could obtain complete data after testing every helmet.
To replace a human head, the lab uses an enhanced system known as Hybrid III. Accelerations are measured inside the Hybrid III’s head. All the helmets are tested for major impacts at an angle of 45 degrees. After a thorough test, the data is brought together and analyzed. When the helmet passes this test and proves to be at par with the MIPS BPS standards, only then it is officially approved for MIPS standards.
Rome was not built in a day, and nor was this lab. It took the MIPS team 15 years to develop a comprehensive MIPS test environment. Although the first test machine started its helmet testing in 1997, it has evolved tremendously over the years.
If you look at MIPS-equipped helmets and non-MIPS helmets, both may look identical to you. However, if you have a peek inside, you will notice a yellow-colored thin liner under the helmet pads. That is where the magic happens. You may not feel the difference while wearing the two cycling helmets but upon collision, the difference can be clearly noted.
What’s The Importance of Rotational Motion?
When there is a bike collision, there are two types of forces that come into action – linear force and rotational force. Most of the injuries to the head are a result of a combination of both these forces. The brain can handle linear impacts better than oblique impacts which create rotational strain. While the same helmet without an MIPS system will provide protection against collisions, the MIPS-engineered helmets minimize the harmful rotation impact on the brain.
When a cyclist falls off from a bike upon an accident, he/ she falls from an angle that creates the rotational motion to cause damage to the brain. This may even result in severe brain injuries and concussions. The force to blame here is the rotational force that is the main culprit.
What Does MIPS Exactly Do?
You may have read or heard about MIPS while searching for bike helmets. Upon a collision, the Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) works inside the helmet to reduce rotational forces from damaging your brain.
MIPS technology mimics the brain’s natural protection mechanism and uses a specially designed layer that moves inside the helmet. This layer is engineered to rotate inside the helmet to slow down the amount of energy that impacts the brain. Upon a crash or collision, this layer of “slip-plane system” hence moves inside the helmet to minimize sudden jerks to and from the head.
You may not find much difference between a MIPS and a non-MIPS-equipped helmet from outside (other than the tiny MIPS monogram), but if you look inside the helmet you will notice a yellow MIPS liner. This is exactly what MIPS does. This technology protects your brain from severe impact (rotational forces) when you fall off from an angle.
Does MIPS Cost More?
MIPS is an added technology that makes a good helmet the best one you can get. Since it provides additional protection to your head, it does have an additional cost. The MIPS layer needs to be separately tailored inside each helmet. For this reason, you may find that the cost of a MIPS-equipped helmet is slightly more than that of non-MIPS helmets.
However, you cannot deny the advanced data methods and technology, years of effort, and hard-core testing that is put in every MIPS-equipped helmet. And this comes with a cost. Do not let the cost be the deciding factor. Remember that it is your life that is at stake, and you can consider the higher cost as an investment.
Do I Need It?
If you think from a realistic point of view, there is nothing more precious than your own life. Investing in MIPS-equipped bike helmets is definitely a good idea as it could well be the difference between life and death. Accidents happen suddenly, without any prior notice. As per the stats obtained from accidents, the most common injuries result from an angled force that causes the head and brain to rotate.
Therefore, what you need is something that reduces this rotational impact to prevent any possible brain damage. The answer: MIPS-equipped helmets. Our fragile brain may not be able to withstand the impact of harmful rotational motion. Your MIPS helmet will minimize this impact as the MIPS BPS technology enables the head to move inside the helmet. This prevents the negative impact of rotational energy from transferring to the brain.
While a well-adjusted helmet can save your head and especially the precious brain from different types of jerks and linear impact, you do not have any protection if you fall from an angle. When a cyclist wearing a non-MIPS helmet falls from an angle, there is a rotational motion that impacts the brain, leading to some profoundly serious head injuries. What you need is the safety features of a MIPS-equipped helmet that minimizes the chances of a brain injury by reducing the harmful rotational forces, and hence reducing the impact on the brain. MIPS technology is for all ages and sizes. So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself a MIPS helmet and enjoy a stress-free and safer ride!