It might not give you Matrix-style bullet-dodging skills, but this German invention could cause you to walk into an open manhole.

This German "Decelerator Helmet" might not give you Matrix-style bullet-dodging skills, but it could let you walk blindly into an open manhole.

Built by Lorenz Potthast, the high-tech headgear is meant to slow down the hustle and bustle of the modern city. For the viewer entrapped within its spheroid gut, its mechanism is simple yet difficult to grasp on a why-was-this-built level. The wearer puts the device over his head like an inverted ice bucket. He sees a computer monitor showing what's happening straight ahead in real-time. Using a wireless mouse, the user can cause the video feed to slow down, creating the sensation that everyone is slogging through three feet of gooey blackstrap.

Potthast conceived of the decelerator while taking a course about overstimulation in the Internet age at the University of the Arts Bremen in Germany. Regarding why he felt the need to design an aluminum temporal-shifter, he writes:

The inconceivably [large] amount of information and influences in our everyday lives leads in many cases to an excessive demand. The idea to decouple the personal perception from the natural timing enables the user to become aware of his own time....

The Decelerator gives the user the possibility to reflect about the flow of time in general and about the relation between sensory perception, environment and corporality in particular. Also it dramatically visualizes how slowing down can potentially cause a loss of the present.

The last part raises the biggest question: How are you supposed to keep track of where you're going with this aluminum bulb slowing everything down? Perhaps there's a space to peek out at the bottom, like with a poorly tied blindfold? Otherwise I could see a lot of concussive bashing of walls and kiosks. To be fair, though, tumbling down a flight of stairs in slow-mo could be really cool to watch.

The Decelerator Helmet - A slow motion for Real Life from Lorenz Potthast on Vimeo.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A rendering of Quayside, the waterfront development now being planned for Toronto.
    Solutions

    A Big Master Plan for Google's Growing Smart City

    Google sibling company Sidewalk Labs has revealed its master plan for the controversial Quayside waterfront development—and it’s a lot bigger.

  2. Design

    What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

    Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

  3. a photo of commuters on Oakland's Bay Bridge.
    Transportation

    Can Waze Convince Commuters to Carpool Again?

    Google’s wayfinding company wants to help drivers and riders find each other on its navigation app—and ease traffic congestion along the way.

  4. Anthony Bourdain in 2001, when he was still the chef-owner of Les Halles in New York City.
    Life

    Urbanists Could Learn a Lot From Anthony Bourdain

    The work of the acclaimed chef and writer, who has died at 61, provides a model for a truly inclusive urbanism based on the creativity of all human beings.

  5. a photo of a highway
    Transportation

    Americans Are Spending Billions on Bad Highway Expansions

    PIRG’s annual list of “highway boondoggles” includes nine transportation projects that will cost a total of $25 billion while driving up emissions.

×