TWO YEARS AFTER RECEIVING NFL HELMET CHALLENGE AWARD, MONTREAL’S KOLLIDE FOOTBALL HELMETS ARE MAKING IT INTO THE NFL
The KOLLIDE helmet technology has the potential to revolutionize all head safety equipment
Montreal, Quebec (September 20th, 2023) - It has been almost precisely two years since the NFL granted KOLLIDE, a consortium composed of three Montreal-based companies, the NFL Helmet Challenge Award. At the time, the consortium had designed, built, and submitted a prototype football helmet that outperformed other helmets that were used by NFL players. Now, this award-winning helmet technology is finally making it onto the NFL football field as the leagues’ equipment managers and players are currently evaluating this new helmet, now dubbed the “GLADIATOR”.
KOLLIDE has used the last two years to improve upon its helmet technology and identify a commercial partner. For KOLLIDE to be a commercial success, it had to find a partner capable of selling its helmet effectively in the United States, where American football is most widely played. LIGHT™ Helmets, based in California, has proven to be this partner. Within weeks after receiving clearance from the NFL that allowed the new LIGHT/KOLLIDE helmet to be worn by NFL players, LIGHT™ Helmets was able to obtain orders from over 15 NFL team equipment departments.
The GLADIATOR is the first marketed helmet through the LIGHT/KOLLIDE partnership. It is a low weight high-performance helmet that is tailored for the elite in professional and college leagues. The two companies also have plans to develop and market another helmet that will serve the high school and house leagues.
“We are so pleased to see our technology being used in the NFL, this is validation for the hard work we have put in so far”, said Eric Gaudreau, president of KOLLIDE. “Although we have only been working on this project for 4 years, we have come a long way and delivered on various and often challenging project deadlines. We look to continue achieving major milestones with our partner Light™ Helmets.”
Nicholas Esayian, CEO of LIGHT™ Helmets, said: “Our strategic alliance with KOLLIDE puts LIGHT in a position to service the NFL market and maintain a helmet that can be configured to just over 3.5 pounds which we felt was important in terms of player safety and performance. The organizations complement one another as KOLLIDE’s expertise in R&D augments LIGHT’s ability to design, manufacture, distribute, and support cutting edge products.”
KOLLIDE’s story began in late 2019, when the NFL called out to industry, asking for better helmet technologies, through the initiation of the NFL Helmet Challenge. Faced with a growing focus on head injuries across all sports and especially in the NFL, the league decided to invest in innovations that could reduce the number and the severity of concussions. The NFL's objective was to support the development of a new helmet that would outperform, based on laboratory tests, all helmet models currently worn by NFL players. To meet this challenge, KOLLIDE, without any experience in designing football helmets, brought together three leading experts in their own fields:
Tactix (sports equipment design), to integrate a user-centered approach to the development of a design that meets the needs of football culture and players.
Kupol (advanced 3D printing ), to produce an inner lining system with unique and patented three-dimensional structures to absorb and redirect impact energy.
Numalogics (simulation testing), to virtually test helmet designs without having to physically produce them and optimize the effectiveness of each helmet component for specific game conditions.
Furthermore, with the financial support of MEDTEQ+ and NSERC, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) researchers helped characterize the behaviour of the materials developed by KOLLIDE and lab-tested helmets to facilitate R&D efforts.
To date, the NFL has awarded KOLLIDE with over $1 million CDN to support R&D and manufacturing. The consortium has set up its own 3D printing farm in Montreal that houses many machines to produce a variety of specific pads that make up the inner liner of the helmets. KOLLIDE is looking to expand this manufacturing capability and expand into other sports industries. It is currently seeking strategic investors to assist in this growth.
“KOLLIDE wants to become a reference in sports equipment innovation,” added Eric Gaudreau.
“We’d like to adapt it to other types of sports. We’re aiming at winning the Super Bowl, but also the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Tour de France, F1 and much more. We’re only at the beginning of this new technology!”
Kollide is a Montreal-based consortium specializing in digital engineering and 3D printing to develop safer and innovative equipment for sports and leisure activities. It won the 2021 NFL Helmet Challenge Award for the design of the Gladiator football helmet, which is now marketed by LIGHT™. The Gladiator helmet will be evaluated by NFL teams in 2023. KOLLIDE is composed of experts from three companies:
Tactix, an industrial design firm with extensive experience in the development of performance equipment for the sports, health, and safety industries.
Kupol, the first company to design a fully 3D-printed bicycle helmet. The company leverages a unique mesh structure that enhances the helmet's protection.
Numalogics, which has developed a unique virtual testing laboratory to evaluate biomechanical interactions between the human body and equipment or devices in the medical, sports and defence equipment industries.
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Pascal Babineau Boulé