Hedgemon is a Cleveland-based startup developing a hedgehog-inspired, shock absorbing liner.
The comapny was founded in February 2015 and is developing a platform shock absorbing liner inspired by hedgehogs. Wild hedgehogs are agile climbers, scaling trees to heights exceeding 30 feet while foraging insects. When a hedgehog needs to descend from an above ground perch quickly–to escape an owl, for example–it will curl into a spikey ball and simply drop to the ground. Upon high speed impact, the hedgehog scurries away uninjured because the quills projecting from its pelt absorb shock.
Hedgemon’s patent-pending liner, which consists of elongate polymer elements projecting in various directions from a base material, emulates two key principles of the hedgehog model. The first is the overlapping layout of flexing quills, which enables adjacent quills to ‘domino’ into each other, facilitating omnidirectional energy dissipation. The second is the internal architecture of the quills, which facilitates elastic bowing under load, and therefore, multi-shock durability.
The initial target application for Hedgemon’s technology is an integral safety liner for football helmets to reduce risk of concussion. Other potential applications include but are not limited to body armor; running shoe soles; infant car seats; protective packaging for fine art; transport cases for sensitive equipment; vibration damping bases for airdrop pallets; fall protection flooring for nursing homes and daycare facilities; and furniture cushions.