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ZERO1 Football Helmet



Research continues to connect sports-related head injuries to acute chronic brain injuries. Despite awareness and leaps in science, helmets today are not very different from the ones worn 50 years ago.

Enter VICIS, an organization working to tackle this challenge with the ZERO1, a 21st century football helmet that is safer, sexier and more functional. A tech company that spun out of the CoMotion incubation lab at the University of Washington in Seattle, the VICIS mission is to “Protect the Athlete, Elevate the Game”. 


The ZERO1 helmet was created by top engineers, neurosurgeons and industrial designers. At the core of the innovation is the VICIS LODE Shell™ that absorbs impact load by locally deforming, like a car bumper. Automotive safety engineers have used local deformation to protect people for decades. VICIS is the first to bring the proven innovation to football helmets, designed to reduce the risk of head injuries to players. 


VICIS recognized early on that superior technology alone does not guarantee success. Athletes wouldn't wear a helmet unless it possessed both exceptional functionality and a fast, aggressive, agile look. VICIS reached out to Artefact to come up with a product design that is a refection of the game itself – classic, bold and unforgettable.  


The Artefact team conducted field research with players, coaches, equipment managers and medical staff to understand requirements and priorities. They reviewed the technology, structures, assembly, and helmet details, highlighting opportunities for innovation and differentiation.

From the chinstrap to the facemask, the comfort liner to the occipital support – every part of the football helmet needs to meet the specific and often divergent requirements of players and equipment managers. Artefacts’ goal was to develop a design modern yet classic, highlighting the innovation of VICIS technology while leveraging the components that have historically proven to work.  


Throughout the design process the team gathered feedback from players and refined the design emphasizing the essential over ornamental. The final design respects football legacy while offering a true revolution in protection and comfort. 

  • Since unveiling the design of ZERO1, VICIS has secured $18M, accelerating commercialization efforts.  
  • VICIS is the winner of the Head Health Challenge.  
  • The ZERO1 is the winner of IDSA's International Design Excellence Award for 2016.  


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