Before you read anything, just watch this video.
Ok, done? Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. To be honest it scared the shit out of us. We could have started this article by writing a whole bunch of facts about WaveCel®, but it seemed smarter to just let the eggs do the talking. We’ve never seen such a brilliant and direct visual communication of the effectiveness of a product before, and although we don’t have eggs inside our skulls, we think the message is pretty clear.
To summarise WaveCel® in a nutshell - or eggshell, boom - this thing is designed to reduce the rotational forces of a slam, instead of only reducing the forces from a direct impact. Why should you give a shit about this? Because unless you’re in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, when you fall, you don’t fall straight down onto your head. There is always an element of rotation involved, and it’s rotational forces that cause concussions. You know, those brain injuries that cause - among other things - nausea and long term memory loss? A traditional helmet might stop you directly smashing the outside of your head on some stairs if you hook on a rail, but it’s not necessarily going to protect the inside of your head at the same time. Something worth noting is that most helmets are not tested for rotational impact, only direct. That strikes us as kind of crazy, that the main way to test something designed for protecting your head isn’t actually done in a relevant way.
“WaveCel® reduces rotational forces by up to 73%. Which leads to an 80% reduced risk of concussion.”
So what is WaveCel® and how does it work? Instead of us trying to explain and doing a bad job of it, here’s what the scientists have to say:
“WaveCel® is a collapsible cellular material that behaves like a network of hundreds of interconnected shock absorbers between your head and the helmet’s outer shell. Due to its unique structure, this material reacts in three distinct ways to help transfer and absorb energy upon impact. Its cells flex to help divert forces away from the head; crumple to help absorb impact energy, much like the crumple zone of a car; and glide to help distribute rotational force, an increasingly recognised cause of brain injury. As a result, WaveCel technology reacts to help reduce forces sustained upon impact, whether they are direct, oblique or rotational in nature.”
Ok, got that? This stuff was developed by a biomechanical engineer and an orthopaedic surgeon who were seeing a trend in high concussion rates, but a lack in technology to actually prevent them. Unlike a broken bone, nerve tissue doesn’t heal once it’s torn. You instead have to help prevent the injury, rather than fixing it after it occurs. After a 15 year process of R&D that lead to them creating their own unique manufacturing process - that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world - they have perfected their product, and it’s now available in snow helmets for the first time, licensed exclusively to Anon within the winter-sports market for the next 3 years.
There are two new helmets featuring this tech, the Merak WaveCel®which is more freeride-focused and features adjustable vents, and the Logan WaveCel® which is lower profile and more freestyle-focused. As well as single-form WaveCel liners, these new models also feature BOA fit systems (which we have tried and love, because it stops the helmet wobbling around and making you feel like a bobblehead) and also easy-to-use magnetic Fidlock buckles and some cosy Polartec lining.
Yes, dear snowboarder, we know that a helmet doesn’t look as cool as a beanie or a cap. What you wear on your head is a personal choice and we’re not telling you what to do, so spare us the agony of DMing us about how wack you think helmets are and keep rocking whatever it is you want to rock. If, however, you want to find out more, you can check out www.anonoptics.com and then send the egg video to all of your friends.