Helmets top the list of personal protective gear for soldiers at war, firefighters on duty, construction workers on catwalks, motorcyclists on the open road, skiers, hockey players and bicyclists. Considering the widespread use of helmets in work and play among people of all ages, races, sexes and sizes, so often the choice for purchasers is small, medium or large. The Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim, Germany, launched a study in 2012 to create a data basis for optimized textile-based head protection systems. Researchers will measure 40 points on the human head and use 3-D technology to find a better fit for helmet users and manufacturers.
Human head data has been collected in China and the U.S., but the results reflect the genetics of those countries’ populations and were not a good fit for German head morphology. Hohenstein Institute will measure head shape, facial features and distances between features such as the eye, nose, mouth and ear. The data will then be categorized into representative head shapes for men, women and children. The study will also research wearer comfort features, such as helmet lining insulation and moisture wicking and methods of preventing growth of microorganisms that can cause scalp infections or odor problems.