Beanies designed to save lives

After five years in development, two Brisbane-based entrepreneurs have launched a beanie that is as safe as a helmet.

Former QUT student and Anti Ordinary CEO and co-founder Rob Joseph said he was excited to bring the fully approved flexible beanie to market.

While you wouldn’t normally count on a beanie to save your life, the Anti Ordinary beanie is made of non-Newtonian materials that allow them to start soft and rubbery but stiffen instantly on impact.

The novel idea gained immediate traction in 2019, however the road to market has been a difficult one, with unavoidable delays from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Raising capital for a Snowsports company, as a couple of blokes in their mid-twenties from Brisbane while not being able to travel the world and access capital markets has been tough,” Mr Joseph said.

“Once we were able to get out again, we had remarkable cut through with investors, but being trapped for so long hindered progress significantly.”

While Mr Joseph and his team have faced some hurdles in getting the beanie to market, they have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure they pass rigorous safety assessments, exceeding both the European and United States snow sports standards.

The beanie has performed 35 per cent better than the minimum standard for certification in the documented drop test, meaning it can withstand a huge amount of impact, far more than is likely in a snow sports accident.

“After a crash on the snow I realised how important protecting your head was, but saw that many people, like me, didn’t really like wearing helmets; they’re bulky, uncomfortable and ultimately ruin the ‘free’ feeling on the snow,” Mr Joseph said.

“But when we had a look around, we saw that people who don’t wear helmets wear beanies, and even people who wear helmets wear beanies underneath as well.”

“So, the solution was simple; instead of trying to make helmets more comfortable, we’d make a beanie that’s safe.”

QUT Entrepreneurship representative, Associate Professor Glen Murphy, commented on the continued success of the Anti Ordinary start up.

“QUT are excited to celebrate the official launch of these amazing helmets with Rob and the Anti Ordinary team,”

“Rob was one of the original members of the QUT Entrepreneurship community and we’re both excited and proud of how far he and his concept has come” Associate Professor Murphy said.

Mr Joseph and his team have two patents on the impact absorption technology behind the beanie, and while they are gearing up for the Northern Hemisphere snow season, they are also getting ready to put this technology to use in other areas.

“Our expansion into the cycling and medical markets is already underway, and we can’t wait to see this technology make a difference on and off the slopes.”

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