MIPS Helmet Technology
What is MIPS?
The MIPS Brain Protection System is a helmet-integrated, low-friction layer designed to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head. This layer creates a way for the rotational force to be absorbed and redirected rather than transmitted to the brain during an impact. It’s held in place with flexible bands that clip the MIPS liner to the helmet’s foam in multiple anchor points. The system sounds simple, but this technology was developed and tested over countless hours in a lab.
Where did MIPS come from?
Over the past two decades, a small group of passionate individuals based out of Sweden have made it their mission to find a way to further protect the brain from rotational force and strain when an impact occurs during a crash. From this group grew MIPS, which is short for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. MIPS can be found in a variety of different helmets, from motocross lids to equestrian riding helmets.
Is MIPS worth it?
The low friction layer, better known as MIPS Brain Protection System allows a sliding movement of 10-15 mm, (a little less than the width of a penny) in all directions, reducing rotational motion to the brain during an impact. This low-friction layer is found between the EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam and the pads that make contact to the user’s head. An added layer of safety, the MIPS Brain Protection System creates a way for the rotational force to be absorbed and re-directed rather than transmitted to the brain during impact. 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.
How is MIPS tested?
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. 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. The computerized finite element model is an integral part of verifying that your helmet, with MIPS inside, delivers higher safety properties and redirects and reduces damaging rotational motion to the brain than the same helmet without MIPS.
Aare M. Prevention of head injuries – focusing specifically on angled impacts, Doctoral Thesis, Division of Neuronic Engineering, School of Technology and Health, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. 2003.
Halldin P. Prevention and prediction of head and neck injury in traffic accidents – using experimental and numerical methods. Doctoral Thesis. Report 2001-1, Department of Aeronautics, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, 2001.
Kleiven, S. (2006). Evaluation of head injury criteria using an FE model validated against experiments on localized brain motion, intra-cerebral acceleration, and intra-cranial pressure. International Journal of Crashworthiness 11 (1), 65-79.