For years, helmet technology and protection was rated on a single direction, vertical impact test that rated how significantly a helmet protected the head in a straight on crash impact (imagine a vertical fall straight to the head). As the action sports industry continues to grow, however, more and more emphasis on multi-directional crash scenarios is being used in helmet rating technology. Enter the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, MIPS for short.
The following video demonstrates how the MIPS technology works in GIRO Bike Helmets. The technology works the same way when used in a Ski or Snow Helmet as well.
To recap, the MIPS system works to prevent rotational trauma to the brain. When a person in motion – be it on a pair of skis, snowboard or bike – experiences a head first crash, the friction of the ground latches on to the helmet and effectively grabs the head causing a violent change in direction. Inside the head, the brain floats in cerebral fluid and is not entirely attached to the skull so it can move independently. For minor bumps and bangs, this acts as a safety feature, however, in high velocity falls the force is simply too high and often results in concussions. Similar damage can be done by rotational violence in which the brain rotates at a delayed rate and then slams into the inside of the head on the same rotational axis.
The MIPS system is a low friction insert designed to allow the helmet to move without the head moving. The reaction is quick, a mere couple of milliseconds, but is still enough to significantly reduce the force and momentum to help reduce trauma. The liner, known as a Slip Plane, allows the head to move around and redirect the force caused by an angled impact.
Purchasing a helmet with the MIPS technology will help reduce the risk of traumatic and long term damage to the brain caused by significant rotational impact and can help prolong a skiers career. It’s a must have safety feature for anyone moving at high velocity or engaging in rotational or inverted tricks.