ARC Headgear by Alex Teo

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ARC Promo Film

Another stand-out project we spotted at the NUS DID Grad Show earlier this month is the ARC headgear, featuring  a responsive mechanical metamaterial that absorbs and redirects impact forces. “This headgear offers up to 2.77 times better protection against linear impacts and 2.52 times better protection against rotational impacts than conventional headgear designs,” Alex Teo goes on to say. “This design rides on the developmental trend of Additive manufacturing towards mass production, as observed from big players of lifestyle brands like Adidas. Adidas had announced their plan to release up to 5000 pairs of Futurecraft 4D shoes with Carbon 3D, an American based 3D printing company.

ARC headgear also wishes to break the paradigm that additive manufacturing is meant for personalization and customisation of one-off products. In fact, the manpower and expertise required for personalizing a digitally designed product is the reason behind the much higher cost incurred by the end user. Hence, ARC is designed to have an adaptable fit that comfortably conforms to various head shapes and profile, a move to ensure additively manufactured products can be made for the masses and cost lowered by achieing economies of scale.

The invention of a new lattice structure design in this product is key to its success, which replaces the usage of conventional foam as protective padding materials. Conventional padding materials (like polyurethane foam) when designed to be highly protective (denser or thicker) inevitably comes with usability tradeoffs (ventilation, an undesirably thick profile etc).

The invented lattice structure was digitally conformed over a head form to create the bespoke ARC Headgear. Such a design can only be achieved by highly technical and iterative digital processes in 3D CAD, which is then eventually tangiblized via additive manufacturing.”

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