EcoHelmet Wins 2016 US Round of James Dyson Award


EcoHelmet, designed by Pratt Institute Industrial Design student Isis Shiffer, has been chosen as the US National Winner of the 2016 James Dyson Award. EcoHelmet is a foldable, recyclable, vendable helmet for bike share users, allowing cyclists to ride confidently and safely.

“It’s incredibly validating to be recognized by an organization I respect, especially as I associate Dyson with the sort of practical, problem solving design that I aspire to make myself,” says Shiffer. She will receive $3,500 from the James Dyson Foundation, and plans to use the funds to focus her efforts on the development of EcoHelmet.

EcoHelmet was inspired by the growing number of bike shares in major cities as a healthy, economical and environmentally friendly way to get around. Globally, bike sharing continues to explode and safety, convenience and cost continue to be points of concern. EcoHelmet is the solution. Riders simply purchase the helmet along with the bike rental and recycle after use. Its flat, folded state is ideal for vending machines and requires no assembly. A user just places EcoHelmet on his head, pulls down the straps, clips them and goes.


National judging was held at WIRED HQ in San Francisco on July 21. Judges Joe Brown, executive editor of WIRED, Kent Frankovich, a former JDA judge and founder of Revolights, and Hannah Chung, co-founder of Design for America and Sproutel, spent the day deliberating on the 100 projects entered into the US competition.

“Bike share programs give many people who are unfamiliar with cycling a chance to explore it without much commitment, yet the barrier of feeling unsafe is a big one for most people; and having to choose to ride without a helmet is enough to stop inexperience riders. Providing a solution to get people over that hump and on a bike has the potential to help with cycling adoption, and this idea was so incredibly simple that we all recognized its potential. The fact that the designer had already done much of the necessary impact testing towards certification put it over the top, in my opinion,” offers Frankovich on why the judges selected EcoHelmet as the US National Winner. In addition to advancing EcoHelmet to the international stage of the competition, four runners-up will also accompany EcoHelmet: Bloom Inhaler, SoaPen, Insulus and Lytra.

Bloom 1

Bloom Inhaler, designed by James Cazzoli, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student, is a credit-card sized inhaler. It holds six doses of relief medication and is refillable with a prescription inhaler canister. The nozzle of the inhaler is inserted into the refilling valve, creating a hermetic seal. With each pump of the inhaler, one dose is transferred and stored into Bloom for use at a later time.

Soapen 1

SoaPen, designed by Subham Issar, Yogita Agrawal and Amanat Anand, students at Parsons School of Design, is a soap-crayon. It is used like a marker for drawing on a child’s dry hands. When children wet and rub their hands, the drawing lathers, and prompts them to wash their hands for the ideal 20-40 seconds. Teachers can apply SoaPen to a child’s hands within the classroom and effortlessly ensure the desired level of sanitation by checking, after the hand wash, that the child’s hands are mark free.

Insulus 4

Insulus, designed by Rhode Island School of Design students Michelle Lin, Haily Tran, Kevin Jung, is a modular insulation system. Insulus is fun and simple to install to windows. One simply pulls off an adhesive backing of the puzzle piece, sticks it to a window and finishes the rest of the puzzle. Heat loss occurs when warm air moves through cold glass. The honey-comb designed of Insulus maximizes insulation properties by trapping still air. The thickness and transparency of the Insulus design allows windows to still be accessible and visible.

Lytra 1

Lytra, designed by Ziyang Teng, a student at Art Center College of Design, is an affordable prosthetic leg that allows below-knee amputees to take showers freely and clean their residual limb safely. Lytra allows the bottom of the limb to be exposed in air for amputees to get a full-decent wash in the shower. Made from acrylic sheets, it allows for incredible strength and stability. When force is applied downwards from the limb, Lytra’s structure is able to distribute it evenly.

The top 20 international finalists will be announced on September 29, and the international winner and two runners-up will be announced on October 27.