Scientists and inventors have been taking their cues from nature for centuries, but who would have thought the somewhat exotic pangolin (aka scaly anteater) and honeybees would influence a bicycle helmet design? That unlikely pairing is what inspired Golem Innovation to create the Alpha helmet, a folding noggin protector that retracts around your neck when not in use.
The impetus behind the design of the Alpha helmet was a simple one: create a helmet that would be lighter than existing ones and could easily be put away so you didn’t have to hold it or run the risk of losing it.
The company’s design team settled on the pangolin’s ability to roll itself up into an ball as the primary design element, with the bee honeycomb as the influence behind the internal structure to give the helmet the ability to absorb hard impacts.
When the Alpha is not in use, it folds into itself and sits on your shoulders, taking up about as much space as the Hövding airbag for cyclists. To bring it into helmet mode, you reach around with one or both hands and the Alpha articulates into a half-faced helmet with built-in eye protection.