A college student recently made headlines for inventing a helmet that may reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths that result from motorcycle accidents. According to a local news report, a 21-year-old student was inspired to design the helmet—called ConTekt—when his friend got into a motorcycle accident. After the crash, his friend couldn’t move and thus couldn’t reach his phone to call for help. The motorcyclist’s position on the highway made him invisible to other motorists, and he lay there injured, unsure of what to do. ConTekt aims to solve this problem; the helmet uses technology to contact 911 the moment that the wearer hits the ground, giving accident victims “a lifeline without risking any injury by moving.”
Uehara is on his way to producing the helmet for retail. Earlier this year, the invention won first prize at the University of Hawaii’s Breakthrough Innovation Challenge. The prize money, $2,000, will help Uehara obtain a patent for the helmet and develop a prototype. A cost analysis led him to predict that the helmet will retail around $700, which is less than the average for a similar quality helmet.
The helmet, once finalized, can help address the dangers that motorcyclists face every day. Motorcyclists are overrepresented in traffic fatalities, and their lack of protection compared to cars and trucks makes them uniquely susceptible to serious injuries when accidents occur. Helmets in general, even without the ability to call 911, can play an important role in protecting motorcyclists’ skulls and brains from traumatic injuries. In fact, Maryland has recognized the importance of helmets, and state law requires helmet use.