Boston Now Dispensing Bicycle Helmets

Intelligent Dispensing Solutions aren’t the only ones coming up with clever custom vending machines that dispense more than just candy bars and soda. Last summer the city of Boston introduced the Hubway, a bicycle sharing system with 60 solar-powered stations and 600 bikes. Both tourists and local residents loved the idea, with over 140,000 trips in just four months. However, the city soon realized that only 30% of riders wore helmets.

Now cue some super smart undergrads at MIT who created a prototype product known as the HelmetHub which is a vending machine that dispenses bicycle helmets. It also features a touchscreen similar to the ones at the other kiosks available at the Hubway. It even draws power from solar panels and occupies half the space of typical vending machines. The helmets are fairly standard and will fit most head sizes.

The students are hoping they can be both sale and rental kiosks for around $8 and riders will be able to return them for a partial refund. A beta version should be ready for testing as early as next summer. The vending machine is a convenient and great way to promote safety. Maybe we’ll one day see these vending machines popping up in other cities where people prefer a bike over a car.