Sporting the right gear

In the wake of the Nagano Winter Olympics comes the Tempest winter sports helmet, designed to enhance user comfort and so aid performance.

Created by south London product design group NGA, the project was conceived as a ‘blue sky’ joint venture with an existing client, The License Company. ‘Part of our business strategy allows for the development of conceptual products with clients,’ says consultancy founder Nick Griffin.

Research showed a gap in the mass-market of winter sports enthusiasts. Snowboarders and downhill and slalom skiers were identified as the core target.

Wind-tunnel testing indicated that smooth curved surfaces are more aerodynamic for skiers than ‘aerofoil’ helmets. Good ventilation is vital to user comfort.

In the Tempest helmet, a semi-rigid outer shell gives initial protection on impact. This is attached to a semi-soft silicone inner layer (below left), which includes a gel-filled honeycomb to absorb potentially damaging forces during impact. This inner shell incorporates charcoal-filled ventilation pads and an open-cell foam insert to prevent fogging of the visor.

The helmet is lined with absorbent fabric, which has holes close to the ears to aid hearing.

All we need now is the snow.

Designer: NGA Product Design

Client: The License Company

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