De­sign is ahead of the rest

World-first in driver safety

The Gympie Times - - NEWS - JA­COB CAR­SON Re­porter ja­­son@gympi­

LIKE all great in­ven­tions, the con­cept is simple – and the need it fills could pos­i­tively im­pact drivers across our roads.

The Safe-T-Rest head­rest, cre­ated by Gympie in­ven­tor Chris Al­bert, is de­signed to im­prove com­fort and sup­port for drivers.

The ma­jor fea­ture of the prod­uct, how­ever, is the work it will do in re­duc­ing the sever­ity of whiplash in­juries.

“A few years ago I was trav­el­ling along the high­way and there were road­works,” Mr Al­bert said.

“The guy came out with the stop sign, we all stopped – ex­cept for the guy be­hind me.”

Hos­pi­talised after the en­su­ing ac­ci­dent, it would take an­other four years for him to re­cover enough to re­sume his ca­reer in the racing in­dus­try.

The or­deal prompted him to try to im­prove the pro­tec­tion pro­vided by head­rests while on the road.

Larger than the stan­dard is­sue head­rest, the Safe-T-Rest ac­com­mo­dates for the er­ratic move­ment a head can make fol­low­ing a col­li­sion.

Its ad­justable pins and axis al­low it to be eas­ily in­stalled in most cars, from sedans to four-wheel-drives.

The de­vel­op­ment has been an on­go­ing and de­tailed task.

An ini­tial de­sign led to mod­i­fi­ca­tions, which led to de­vel­op­ment of a pro­to­type and a sub­se­quent trip over­seas to pro­duce a lim­ited range of the prod­ucts.

“I was there and helped as­sem­ble them. I didn’t want there to be a sec­ond-rate job on these,” he said.

Re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia, the head­rests passed the req­ui­site safety con­sid­er­a­tions and guide­lines “with fly­ing colours”.

Patents for Aus­tralia, Amer­ica and even China have also been filed and ap­proved as well.

The goal is to now turn Mr Al­bert’s in­ven­tion (and in­vest­ment) into a busi­ness.

Early in­di­ca­tions show there’s a strong in­ter­est in the prod­uct with drivers.

“I es­ti­mate I’ve sold maybe 20 or 25 units just here in Gympie, which is great,” he said.

“The next goal is to get the prod­uct out there a bit more – there are plans to take it to a cou­ple of auto shows this year.”

If you’re interested in learn­ing more about the Safe-T-Rest, Mr Al­bert has set up a web­site and on­line store.

Go to­trest­head­neck­sup­

❝I helped as­sem­ble them. I didn’t want there to be a sec­ond-rate job

— Chris Al­bert

SAFETY FIRST: In­ven­tor Chris Al­bert demon­strates his Safe-T-Rest head­rests. PHO­TOS: JA­COB CAR­SON

The head­rests are de­signed to min­imise in­jury.

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