July 31, 2020
From the outside, Riddell football helmets look like a solid piece but underneath the shiny, hard shell, an intricate lacework of diamond-shaped structures offer breathability, protection and comfort. The internal structures are fabricated in 3D printing, using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology.
In the announcement of their partnership with Riddell, Carbon reveals, “Each helmet is made up of more than 140,000 individual struts, carefully orchestrated into patterns for attenuating impact forces while providing excellent comfort and fit. The result is a Carbon DLS-printed, custom fit, impact-absorbing helmet liner designed to advance the state-of-the-art in head protection.”
With the latest advances in sensor technology, the Riddell helmets offer new possibilities. “Riddell’s proprietary database of over five million impacts captured by Riddell’s smart helmet technology will allow for custom and individualized tuning of lattice structures in the future,” Carbon speculates.
No two football players are alike in their style and strategy. “With the SpeedFlex Precision Diamond, players are not only experiencing the latest in head protection, they can also dictate where the helmet is positioned to improve sightlines and maximize field vision,” says Peyton Manning, Riddell strategic advisor and brand ambassador and former NFL player.
To produce a precision-fit helmet, Riddell says it gathers the player’s preferences, “such as helmet positioning, then scans the unique contours and shape of each player’s head to create one-of-a-kind pad sets.”
In April, while sporting events were on hold, the NFL and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) continued to work in the lab with biomechanical experts to determine which helmets best reduced head impact severity. According to the results announced recently (www.playsmartplaysafe.com), the Riddell SpeedFlex Precision Diamond model is the top-performing helmet.
The Riddell SpeedFlex Diamond helmet is listed at $499 (Varsity) and $429 (Youth). The helmet maker warns that COVID-19 might cause delays in delivering orders.
The 2020 NFL Draft was a virtual event this year. It’s still unclear how training can occur to prepare for the NFL 2020 season set to begin in September.
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