Mips. Being stubborn is not enough.
MIPS works studying the consequences of impacts on the brain and uses data collected by the research and development team, the University of Stockholm and the thousands of tests conducted in its laboratory, to revolutionize the way we conceive and design helmets.
Already from the plane the contradictions of the “Venice of the North” are evident. The city is spread over a group of 14 islands and the skyline is unique in the world: slender skyscrapers with a minimalist design mixed with villas on the shores of the Baltic Sea, each accompanied by its own boat. Everything is green, broken only by the reflection of water: an impressionist painting drawn around Gamla Stan, the historical heart. Here you will find the most beautiful cobbled streets in the world, among ochre-colored buildings. Mårten Trotzigs gränd is Sweden’s narrowest and most picturesque street, perfect for exploring Stockholm. Soon the stereotypes disappear: the deep North is welcoming, the atmosphere warm. The smiling girls bathe at sunset, warmed by a sun that doesn’t want to leave them alone. Here, every year, the world’s highest honor is awarded to people who have distinguished themselves for “The greatest benefits to humanity”: the Nobel Prize. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that in this visionary, brilliant and smart city, which recognizes the best research and inventions, an innovative idea was born that set itself a daring goal: to protect the brains of sportsmen.
MIPS is the acronym of Multi-directional Impact Protection System. The two founders of the company, Hans von Holst – a neurosurgeon and emeritus professor of the Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm – and Peter Halldin – a researcher at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology – in 1996 created a symbol, the iconic yellow sticker applied to sportsmen and workers helmets, which over the years has become synonymous with safety and reliability. Neuroscience and engineering have come together to redefine the concept of safety program offering a change of perspective: to protect the central nervous system as well as the bones that make up the skull. MIPS works studying the consequences of impacts on the brain and uses data collected by the research and development team, the University of Stockholm and the thousands of tests conducted in its laboratory, to revolutionize the way we conceive and design helmets. The focus is to improve prevention against trauma caused by the rotational movement of both the head and the cervical area, reducing brain suffering in the event of a fall. Better to use your head wisely.
“Only direct impacts and their consequences, such as fracture and contusion, had been taken into consideration. The attention had stopped at the surface, at the traumatology of the skull, at the obvious damages caused on the bony parts, rather than at the consequences deriving from the violent movements of the brain inside and against the skull” Hans von Holst tells us, during our visit to the company. “As a neurosurgeon, I personally followed several cases of skiers and bikers who came to the hospital for a check-up, apparently unharmed after a fall, but with severe brain damage. The only way is prevention. The helmet is the solution, as long as its quality, effectiveness and technology are of the highest level” continues the founder of MIPS. Over the last decade, the company’s technicians have set up a simple and ingenious laboratory, which we had the opportunity to see closely during our tour. Here are collected a series of data simulating the impact of a fall with rotational forces: in this way they can quantify the percentage of absorption of the forces of a traditional helmet and an identical one equipped with the MIPS system.
Many technologies have required years of study and work and yet they are “invisible”: GPS and computer hardware, for example. Even the MIPS system, a ‘yellow cage’, is ‘invisible’ from the outside of the helmet: a light plastic covered shell is anchored inside the helmet and is placed in contact with the head. The helmet protects us from falls but also from the sun, cold and rain. An ‘garment for the head’, essential for safety, with a nice look. A design object and image tool, which combines efficiency with comfort.
Being stubborn is not enough. And if you’ve made up your mind that it’s important to protect it, better choose the best solution.