Beginning in July, cyclists in Boston will be able to rent helmets from solar-powered vending machines stationed beside popular Hubway spots (the city’s bicycle sharing system launched last summer). The concept for Helmethub originated from twelve MIT undergraduates and was first revealed during their 2011 Product Engineering Final Presentation, a product-design course that tasks students with building prototypes from scratch in one semester. Since then, the company has worked tirelessly to refine their product offering in preparation for a street debut.
Each solar-powered vending machine holds thirty-six helmets and features a touchscreen like those on Hubway rental kiosks. Rentals cost around $2 and riders will also have the option to purchase one. When a cyclist has finished with their helmet, they return it to the location they’re dropping off their borrowed bike, and it will then be sent to the company’s headquarters to be inspected and sanitized before being distributed again.
Initially, Helmethub will launch at four bike-sharing stations with up to an additional sixteen stations implemented by October. With this HelmetHub roll-out, Boston becomes the first city taqo offer helmet vending machines in the country – providing a necessary safety measure and service. Hopefully with the new CitiBike program, New York and many other bikeable cities will soon follow.
Image via Essdras M. Suarez