This award-winning paper bike helmet could save your life

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A rain-resistant, folding, paper bicycle helmet has won the prestigious international James Dyson Award for clever inventions.

The EcoHelmet is made from recycled paper woven into a honeycomb structure that protects the wearer's head from impact from any direction.

It is designed for those using bike-sharing schemes who may not always carry protective headwear.

World-famous inventor Dyson praised it as an "incredibly elegant" solution to an "obvious problem".

Isis and Sir James Dyson
Isis with Sir James Dyson holding her invention (Kimberly Mufferi/Dyson)

The prize, which is open to university level students or recent graduates, was won by design grad Isis Shiffer, of the Pratt Institute of Design in New York, who bagged a cool £30,000 for claiming top spot.

It beat a wearable asthma management system and smart contact lenses that can measure glucose levels to the award.

Isis said: "I was lucky enough to be studying at Royal College of Art and the Imperial College of London for a semester, and was granted access to Imperial's crash lab.

"They had a European standard helmet crash set-up that allowed me to gather enough data on EcoHelmet's proprietary honeycomb configuration to know it was viable and worth developing."

Folded and unfolded versions  (Kimberly Mufferi/Dyson)
Folded and unfolded versions side-by-side (Kimberly Mufferi/Dyson)

There were more than 3,200 serious injuries to cyclists on the roads in 2015, the Department for Transport said.

According to a 2016 study of 64,000 injured cyclists by the University of New South Wales in Australia, wearing a bike helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injury by almost 70%.

Dyson added: "EcoHelmet solves an obvious problem in an incredibly elegant way.

"But its simplicity belies an impressive amount of research and development. I look forward to seeing EcoHelmets used in bike shares across the world."