Knowing exactly when to get a new ski helmet can be difficult. A general rule of thumb in the industry is that assuming no major falls, helmets should be replaced every three years. Over time, temperature, dry mountain air, and hard use work together to deteriorate the EPS foam inside the helmet, making it unsafe.
Most ski helmets are generally meant to sustain a single large impact but what about all those little falls you take throughout a season? When you don't see actual structural damage to your helmet, it can be hard to know when to replace it. POC is trying to make that decision absolutely clear with their new integrated impact detection technology.
The POC Skull Orbic H.I. MIPS helmet is made from expanded polypropylene or EPP foam that is not only great at absorbing energy, but can withstand multiple impacts. To know exactly when it is time to replace your ski helmet, POC integrated a new Helmet Integrity (H.I.) Sensor technology directly into the design.
A system of stress-strain sensors distributed over the ski helmet liner record, collect, and memorize any deformation that might occur from an impact. The severity and history of each impact is calculated and stored inside the device.
By pressing a button on the back of the helmet, the H.I. system enables you to check the integrity by turning a light either green or red. If one or a combination of your previous impacts exceeds a pre-defined level, the light turns red and your helmet has reached the end of its life.
The Skull Orbic helmet is equipped with the MIPS system to help reduce rotational forces on your brain in the event of a crash. There is also a VPD 2.0 (Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough) deflector panel on the front of the ski helmet, designed to reduce the trauma caused when downhill racers come in contact with the gates.
I am curious to see if POC will incorporate the Helmet Integrity Sensor technology into their line of cycling helmets. Although you hopefully don't crash as much on a bike as you have the potential to do skiing, it would be nice to know when it is definitely time to replace your bike helmet.