Safety glasses securely in place, Clint Bickmore is hoisting a large metal plug into the air. His business partner, Nathan Saam helpfully points out that "you might want to step back a little bit." Beneath the affectionately named "spike of doom" sits a primitive-looking G.I. Joe-style helmet, dull black in color.
"So we accelerate this spike to almost 15 miles an hour and we drop it on top of the shell to see if we get penetration in the helmet," Saam said.
The spike plunges down, and with a clunk, hits the top of the shell. Three large cracks spiral out of the plastic, but it's not broken. In fact, it's barely dented. If it was like most helmets, it would have shattered or at least suffered a big indentation with a small fracture pattern, said Saam.
This destruction has a point. Saam and Bickmore are trying to build a better bike helmet.