Profile and rear view of the spherical Sotera Advanced Helmet; one image shows the LED panel lit up in red.
The Sotera Advanced Helmet features an LED panel that lights up when the motorcyclist decelerates.

feature / on-01
September 26, 2023
By Mike R. Winder
Images courtesy of Joe Doucet x Partners

Joe Doucet, pen in hand and lifted towards his temple, at work at a desk

In Practice: Joe Doucet

Alum's Sotera Advanced Helmet is Designed to Prevent Accidents

In the event of an accident, there is an 80% chance of injury or death on a motorcycle, compared to about 20% for passenger vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For alum Joe Doucet (BFA 99)—a New York City–based designer, entrepreneur, inventor and creative director—that statistic was unacceptable. In 2019, he and his team went to work on a solution.

The result? An elegant concept called the Sotera Advanced Helmet. While most helmets are designed to minimize injury after an accident, Sotera is designed to actually prevent them by making the rider more visible to other drivers. The helmet is equipped with a USB-rechargeable LED lighting panel to make the rider more noticeable in an array of lighting conditions. Built-in accelerometers detect when the rider is braking and switch to a red color, alerting drivers behind them.

Believing the innovations could reduce accidents and save lives, Doucet opted not to patent the invention and offers it freely to all manufacturers. “I began the project with a goal of commercializing the helmets,” he told Dezeen. “Prior to filing the patents, I realized that the innovation had great potential to save lives. That would be like patenting a seatbelt and having it available to only one company.”