Hedgehog - Impact Protection Technology

Concussions are a major concern in football and other contact sports. Efforts continue to protect players from head injury, and, surprisingly, hedgehogs may contribute to player safety. These small spiny animals live worldwide including England and New Zealand. These non-aggressive creatures are covered with up to 7000 short, hollow quills. Hedgehogs readily climb trees, and to escape an airborne predator will fall directly to the ground. When this happens, the animal curls into a ball with protruding spines. Upon impact, the spines flex with effective shock-absorbing ability to protect the hedgehog from injury.

Researchers at a company called Hedgemon in Akron, Ohio are studying the hedgehog with the hope of improving football helmets. The new helmet has a double inner liner with a layer of short, artificial spines sandwiched between. These spines mimic the hedgehog in the ability to flex and absorb shock. The result is a football helmet which safely dissipates impacts forces. Hedgemon scientists suggest further applications of the hedgehog quill “cushion” including infant car seats, nursing home flooring, car paneling and running shoes.

Some pet stores offer hedgehogs as exotic pets. As part of creation, they first appeared on Day Six along with all other land animals. Hedgehogs are designed for survival, especially when falling from trees. It appears that an additional purpose may be to instruct us on how to give protection from head injuries. This is an example of biomimicry, discovering the secrets placed in nature by the Creator for our discovery and application.