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Hedgehog-Inspired Shock Damping Liner for Transport Cases

Our idea is to compression mold rubber granulate material to construct a shock damping liner for high-end transport cases.

Photo of Emily Kennedy
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HEDGEMON is a tech startup developing a hedgehog-inspired, shock damping liner. Our innovation is a structure that, when formed of a material with suitable elastic modulus, dampens compressive and shear forces. Our idea is to compression mold our liner from Nike Grind's rubber granulate material, then sell it to manufacturers of high-end cases used to transport sensitive equipment (e.g. audiovisual, scientific) or musical instruments. Manufacturers will integrate our liner into their products.

Our technology was inspired by hedgehogs. In the wild, hedgehogs are active climbers. The spines (aka quills) projecting from their pelt dampen shock to protect them against injury when they fall from height. Our shock damping liner consists of rubber elements that extend from a support surface, much like spines projecting from a pelt. When one element is sufficiently deflected, it strikes adjacent elements, transferring force in a continuing cascade. This enables multi-directional energy dissipation, and thereby, damping of compressive and shear forces. Rubber elements have internal structure like hedgehog spines that resists permanent deformation. This contributes to our liner's resilience, increasing multi-shock durability versus conventional solutions like foam.

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

HEDGEMON

Website (if applicable)

http://hedgemon.net

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Granulate

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

These materials will be compression molded to form a liner designed for integration into transport cases by the manufacturer.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Our marketing efforts will target manufacturers of high-end transport cases for sensitive equipment (e.g. Gator, JELCO, Pelican, SKB) and musical instruments (e.g. BAM, Hiscox, Musilia, Visesnut). Manufacturers will buy our liner because it will enable them to offer a product with enhanced impact protection and will result in cost savings associated with reduced warranty claims. End users will benefit because case contents will be less susceptible to damage caused by mechanical shock.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

We will refine our design through iterative prototyping and mechanical testing, then have a third-party lab validate performance. With performance validated, we will contract a manufacturer to produce HEDGEMON liners, which we will sell in bulk to transport case manufacturers. The manufacturer will assemble the final product before selling to end users. If the manufacturer offers recertification to replace worn components, HEDGEMON-fitted cases will continue to generate revenue beyond initial sale.

One potential obstacle we foresee is market inertia, which could make it difficult to identify willing industry partners. We will overcome this obstacle by demoing our technology to convince them of the benefits of adoption (think egg drop challenge).

How is your idea innovative?

Most shock damping liners only protect against compressive forces. Our liner protects against both compressive and shear forces. Our liner is also more resilient than conventional solutions like foam, which rapidly lose spring back capability.

Our idea is utility patent-pending (PCT/US16/52760 & US20170295880). We are confident our claims will be allowed because the International Searching Authority did not identify any prior art that would impact patentability.

What inspired this idea?

Biomimicry – innovation through emulation of biological forms, processes, patterns, or systems

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Dr. Emily Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Nate Swift, Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Bill Hsiung, Chief Science Officer
Mr. Doug Paige, Chief Design Officer

In what city are you located?

Cleveland

In what country are you located?

USA

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

LLC

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

We believe our concept will be enriched through feedback and resources provided by Nike and the OpenIDEO.

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Photo of Erin Dragotto
Team

Great use of recycled materials. What sorts of items are needed to transport in these types of cases? What kind of market demand is there for this type of innovation? How could this apply to other fragile transport items? Thinking of art? Jewelry? How big? Small? Just a few thoughts...

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