As designers are looking for ways to sever their ties with plastic, mycelium has been receiving increasing attention lately as a viable eco-friendly alternative. In fact, experts have been experimenting with the fungus-derived material for everything from construction materials and fashion to sporting equipment.
In the latter category, a new project allows users to grow their own bicycle helmets in a bid to avoid plastic while maintaining the same levels of safety. Called the Grow it Yourself Helmet, the eco-friendly safety equipment designed by NOS Design is 100 percent compostable, breathable, and impact-resistant.
The helmet is made of mycelium — which is the vegetative part of a fungus — combined with hay, meaning that the gear literally grows from natural materials that will decompose back into the soil in about a month after the helmet’s lifecycle.
NOS Design developed the product in partnership with Polybion, a company that developed a foam-like, mycelium-based product called Fungicel. On top of being eco-friendly, this material grows like foam and thus can provide similar impact-resistance properties to the plastic foam used in traditional helmets. On top of that, mycelium is affordable and naturally fire-resistant.
While the product is aimed at all users, it was developed especially for children who quickly outgrow their helmets. Also, the Grow it Yourself Helmet provides an alternative for commuters who rely on bike-sharing services that don’t offer personal protection.