The MIPS technology is scientifically proven to reduce rotational motion by absorbing and redirecting rotational energies and forces transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head
Reducing rotational forces during an impact has been something we’ve focused on since the very beginning, by creating low volume helmets with a smooth surface that’s more likely to slide on the ground during an impact. In 2011 we made a big step further by being one of the very first helmet brands to partner up with MIPS.
We have worked closely with them ever since, and we are continuously working to improve performance through MIPS’ superior technology. Today MIPS brain protection technology is implemented either as standard or as an option throughout our entire range of bike, ski and snowboard helmets.
In a helmet with MIPS Brain Protection System (BPS) the shell and the liner are separated by a Low Friction Layer. When a helmet with MIPS Brain Protection System is subjected to an angled impact, the low friction layer allows the helmet to slide relative to the head. The MIPS BPS is designed to add protection in helmets against the rotational motion.
The rotational motion is a combination of rotational energy (angular velocity) and rotational forces (from angular acceleration) that both affects the brain and increases the risk for minor and severe brain injuries. MIPS BPS has been scientifically proven to reduce rotational motion when implemented in a helmet by absorbing and redirecting rotational energies and forces transferred to the brain.
MIPS is designed to address what happens when you fall. Under real-world conditions, when you fall, your head usually hits the ground at an angle, putting your head into a spinning motion that could lead to strain in the brain. Accident statistics bear this out. However, in standard helmet tests, the helmet is dropped vertically onto a flat impact surface. This test is helpful for measuring precise vertical impacts, but far inferior for measuring the more realistic scenario of an angled impact.
The development of MIPS is based on years of studying the biomechanical properties of the human brain. The brain is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid that protects it by allowing it to slide when exposed to an angled impact. Mimicking the cerebrospinal fluid, MIPS adds a low friction layer that enables a relative movement of 10-15 mm between the head and the helmet in any direction.
MIPS works by installing a thin (0.5–0.7 mm), ventilated, custom cut low-friction layer inside the helmet liner. The layer is held in place by an assemblage of composite anchors that flex in all directions. These anchors hold the layer in place, around the head, but provide a small movement in response to angled impact. MIPS’ small movement (10-15 mm) relative to the helmet at the brief moment of an angled impact (3–10 milliseconds) allows the head to continue in the direction in which it was originally travelling. This means that some portion of the rotational forces and energies acting on the head at impact are redirected and spread out thanks to the large low-friction layer, rather than being transferred to the brain. Thanks to its thinness, lightness, and integration into the helmet’s existing ventilation, it’s rarely noticed by the wearer, even over extended periods of use.
MIPS has evolved through study and testing in Sweden since 1996 by some of the world’s leading researchers in biomechanics and neuroscience at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The two universities created a joint department called Neuronics.
MIPS sprung out from a research project at Neuronics which also saw the development of a helmet test rig for angled impacts. A Hybrid III dummy head, specially designed to measure the complex linear and rotational kinematics that occur in the head during an impact, is fixed in a helmet, which is placed on a frame. The frame is attached to two pillars and travels with minimum friction in a vertical direction. The helmet strikes a 45 degrees impact anvil. Inside the dummy head is a system of nine mounted accelerometers.
With this method, it is possible to measure linear accelerations in all directions and rotational accelerations around all axes. Full-face motorcycle helmets, as well as other sports helmets, have been tested in this type of angled test rig. In addition to the angled impact test, MIPS has access to an advanced computerized finite element model of the head and neck that can be used for injury prediction in impact simulations. This computer model was developed at the Royal Institute of Technology and work continues to further develop the model, which is used to test and optimize the protective properties of helmets with MIPS.
The MIPS system is designed to add protection against the rotational motion (or kinematics) transmitted to the brain from angled impacts to the head. The rotational motion is a combination of rotational energy (angular velocity) and rotational forces from angular acceleration that both affect the brain and increases the risk for minor and severe brain injuries. MIPS’ added protection system has been proven to reduce the rotational motion when implemented in a helmet by absorbing and redirecting energies and forces otherwise transmitted to the brain.
Initially, the MIPS layer was found between the helmet’s shell and the EPS/foam helmet filling. More recent and common versions have the MIPS layer underneath the EPS, between the helmet and the head. This is the most common low friction layer on the market today.
In 1995, the Swedish brain surgeon Hans von Holst from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm began to explore how helmets in general were constructed based on the belief that the inferior protection helmets offered led to consequences for too many people who had suffered head trauma wearing helmets. Hans von Holst contacted the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm in order to initiate biomechanical research on head and neck injury prevention.
As a result, student Peter Halldin initiated his PhD on head and neck injury biomechanics, being the first PhD within this field. Peter Halldin initiated the work from a technical perspective, with assistance from Hans von Holst and his clinical background, with the goal of understanding the complete picture from accident to potential injury.
During the initial years of research, Peter Halldin and Hans von Holst also analyzed the need for a system that reduced the rotational acceleration to the brain. In 1996, Hans von Holst and Peter Halldin came together up with the idea of the MIPS technology, mimicking the brain’s own protection system. The first prototype of a MIPS equipped helmet was tested at the University of Birmingham in 2000, and resulted in the first scientific publication in 2001, showing that MIPS significantly could reduce the rotational acceleration.
No, MIPS was started by scientific and medical researchers with a passion for safety and making a product that possibly could make helmets safer.
Though MIPS has grown very fast over the last couple of years, it started as a team of researchers focused on research and development. The success behind the sudden rise of MIPS is due to the ongoing focus on research, development, and communicating the dangers of rotational motion injuries.
We invest in materials that help our partners and their consumers understand the benefits of MIPS so that we tell our story in the best possible way. This, along with a rise in general awareness of the dangers of rotational head trauma, is why we believe MIPS has grown in the last couple of years.
MIPS is designed to have the ability to be fitted into almost any helmet on the market. Our team of engineers work closely with the brands to produce a low friction layer that has minimal impact on the basic functionality of the helmets such as ventilation, comfort, and fit. Once fitted into the helmet, we at MIPS perform a thorough and demanding test procedure to ensure that the helmet passes the MIPS approval tests. MIPS has implemented low friction layers with proven results in bike, snow, equestrian, motorcycle, motocross, auto, ice hockey, football, and military helmets with demonstrated improvements to head protection.
Rotational motion, in these cases, is the result of an angled impact to the head. A quick, sudden, abrupt stop, will cause the brain to move or stretch. This happens mainly due to the brain’s suspension in the cerebrospinal fluid and because the brain itself has shear properties similar to water.
It is known that the human head is more sensitive to rotational motion than linear motion. From an engineering perspective, rotational motion is a combination of rotational energy (angular velocity) and rotational forces (angular acceleration) that both affect the brain and increase the risk for minor and severe brain injuries.
The reason that the brain is more sensitive to rotational motion is that the brain is very much like water or a gel when it comes to its shear properties. The brain, like water, is also incompressible. Therefore, a linear motion will not affect the brain as much as a rotational motion.
Several researchers have linked severe brain injuries like Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) and Subdural Hematoma (SDH) to rotational motion transmitted to the brain from angled impacts. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) or concussion is also believed to be caused by rotational motion.
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