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Safety First!

Students at MIT have designed a particularly innovative machine for the vending of bicycle helmets, to wok in conjunction with Boston’s “Hubway” bicycle sharing scheme.

Research into the Hubway scheme showed that only around 30% of the users wore helmets, which obviously is not very safety conscious! Despite local retailers selling heavily discounted helmets, users did not seem to embrace them. Enter 12 undergraduates of MIT Mechanical Engineering 2.009 class…Students at the Institute are renowned for innovative design and successfully designed the prototype for the “HelmetHub.” This vending machine is half the size of a regular snack or drinks machine and features a touch screen in line with the design of the Hubway along with solar panels for power. The machine dispenses adjustable helmets for $8 which users can either keep and re-use or return for a partial refund, as helmets are then taken to be inspected and cleaned.

Currently this is a prototype machine, but the students are in talks to build a Beta version which could be put to the test by the summer.

Have you ever used a bike-share scheme, such as Hubway or the so called “Boris Bikes” in London? Of all the bike-shares, only Melbourne, Australia has a helmet vending machine but it is far bulkier than the tight space saving option offered by Hubway. If you use a bike share programme, would you be tempted by the shared helmet as well? Do you ride your own bike with a helmet? Let us know in the comments below!

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