Meru’s revolutionary Inertia Dampening System(IDS) aims to change how Frontal Head Restraint(FHR) manufacturers will design their restraints moving forward and push safety organizations to rewrite their current safety standards. The old thought process of leaving concussion prevention to the helmets needs to change, and Meru wants to push concussion prevention to the forefront.
The forces to the head in the majority of auto racing accidents come from rotational energy which promotes angular acceleration. It has become rare to have a direct linear impact to the head. Brining your head to a stop in an impact protects your neck. Slowing down how quickly the head is brought to your stop protects you brain. For the last 7 years we have been working on a way to do both of those things efficiently.
IDS technology immediately begins to slow the impact down, controlling the helmet's entire movement forward thereby reducing the transfer of angular acceleration forces to the head and brain.
Recent medical research has provided alarming conclusions surrounding the causes, severity, and long-term effects of concussions. Even seemingly minor concussions can have much more serious long-term effects on the brain, especially when frequency is increased.
The current FHR’s focus is on limiting upper neck tension. Concussion prevention is left up to the helmet companies.
The vast majority of impacts one might experience in auto racing qualify as low-threshold energy impacts; impacts well below certification standards pass/fail velocities, but severe enough to sustain a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Bumpy tracks, a big cushion in dirt cars, or a string of small crashes can do enough jarring to sustain a concussion or TBI without any obvious corresponding carnage. IDS starts working the instant an impact begins. The speed sensitive valving makes the technology more compliant and progressive over a broad range of impact velocities common in ‘real world’ racing while still exceeding the global standard pass/fail requirements.
Across the entire range of potential impact velocities, the Meru Ascent FHR with IDS technology focuses specifically on concussion prevention. Meru meticulously engineered the collar, headrest, hardware, guards, and IDS to provide the best possible impact mitigation performance across all impact velocities for both angular and linear accelerations.
In a 70G force impact at the CAPE Crash Testing Lab in Indianapolis, the Meru Ascent FHR with IDS reduced concussion causing forces through the head on the Z axis to just under 53G's. We were able to make those gains without giving up low-threshold energy protection or sacrificing neck safety.
Time-to-Peak (TTP) is how long it takes the energy of an impact to reach maximum g-force. Deceleration time is the single most beneficial component in reducing the severity and magnitude of any impact — the more time, the less energy transferred.
Because of our proprietary IDS technology, our speed sensitive dampener progressively lowers the heads velocity and almost triples the time to peak, spreading already drastically reduced load, over almost double the time.
Traditional FHR’s were designed to limit upper neck tension. At the time, auto racing's biggest problem was basal scull fracture. Caused by the whiplash motion in an impact, basal scull fracture often severed spinal cords leaving drivers dead on impact. Traditional FHR designs did wonders for limiting how far forward the helmet could travel in an impact, eliminating the finished whipping motion.
Both SFI and the FIA recognize upper neck tension as a key pass/fail metric for FHR performance in basal skull fracture prevention.
The goal of lowered upper neck tension was not lost on us. The Mere Ascent tested at 1600N, beating the established perfroamnce standard of 2500N from SFI by 36%.