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Published: 9 November 2017  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Research policyHorizon 2020
Transport
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Belgium  |  Ireland  |  Italy  |  Sweden  |  United Kingdom
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Knocking heads together for better helmet design

Head injury is the leading cause of death for activities such as cycling and motor sports. The EU-funded HEADS project is aiming to reduce fatal head injuries by developing new criteria, testing methods and product certification for helmets.

Photo of a group of cyclists

© ARochau - fotolia.com

Head injury is a worst-case scenario and is a leading cause of death for accidents involving motorbikes, cycling, snow sports and horse-riding. The EU-funded HEADS project team aims to reach a new level of understanding of head impact injury and how head injury should be prevented. This will result in new and safer helmet standard test methods.

To date, linear acceleration – or motion in a straight line – has been used extensively to determine head injury risk; it has however become clear that brain injury is heavily influenced by angular kinematics, i.e. rotational motion. The scientific goal of the HEADS Network is to improve understanding of head impact injury by accounting for the influence of rotational kinematics. This will result in improved and more effective helmets.

The HEADS training network will use computational simulations of real-life accident reconstructions to enable researchers to generate realistic injury thresholds. This will inform future helmet standards in cycling, motorcycling, snow and equestrian sports. The approach will be complemented with an investigation into injury thresholds using precise biomechanical modelling of the human anatomy.

The team is placing a specific focus on body parts, such as the head and neck, as well as the stresses and strains incurred by brain tissue. This will help the identification of adequate head injury criteria for use in the design of new helmet certification tests, including pass/fail safety thresholds.

Project details

  • Project acronym: HEADS
  • Participants: Ireland (Coordinator), Belgium, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom
  • Project N°: 642662
  • Total costs: € 3 387 265
  • EU contribution: € 3 387 265
  • Duration: January 2015 to December 2018

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia