New 6D Off-Road Helmet| Tech

Rethinking Helmet Design to Reduce Concussions

By Andrea Wilson, Photography by Andrea Wilson

At first glance the new 6D off-road helmet looks like any other, but under that conventional-looking shell is a revolution in helmet design. 6D’s patent-pending Omni-Directional Suspension (ODS) is described as a “fully active, in-helmet suspension and kinetic energy management system.” Company founders Bob Weber and Rob Reisinger designed the 6D ATR-1 helmet specifically to improve protection against low-velocity impacts and to reduce angular acceleration—both causes of concussions.

The ODS “compound-liner assembly” consists of two EPS liners separated by a “programmed array of elastomeric isolation dampers,” a design that acts like a spring to absorb compressive loads and also allows the split liner system to shear omni-directionally within itself, improving protection against angular impacts. The air gap created between the two separate EPS layers also channels airflow through the helmet for improved ventilation.

“There’s probably more data that’s been mined in the last five years about brain injury and concussions than the last 50 years combined,” says Weber. “We’re utilizing the latest data to develop this product.”

Finished with a hybrid Kevlar/carbon shell, a large eye port, clavicle cutaways, and a unique sternum pad under the chin bar, the 3-pound, 4.5-ounce ATR-1 is compatible with all neck braces and meets ECE and DOT standards. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but Spring 2013 availability has. A street helmet is planned next.

By Andrea Wilson
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