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VICIS ZERO1 Protect the Athlete, Elevate the Game

Research increasingly connects sports-related head injuries to chronic brain issues like light sensitivity, depression and anxiety. Yet, despite awareness and huge leaps in material science, today’s helmets are hardly different from the helmets Jim Brown and Johnny Unitas wore 50 years ago.

VICIS, a tech company that spun out of the CoMotion incubation lab at the University of Washington, is working to tackle this challenge with the ZERO1, a 21st century football helmet that is safer, sleeker and more functional.

At the core of VICIS’ innovation is the concept of local deformation. Designed to absorb the impact of a collision, the outer layers of the helmet slow acceleration and protect precious cargo, the brain.

Similar concepts may sound familiar, as they have been in use for years in the automotive industry. Borrowing from these industries and leveraging scientific principles to specifically address the issue of concussions, specifically, VICIS’ revolutionary ZERO1 helmet is designed to reduce the risk of head injury for football players.

VICIS recognized early on that superior technology alone does not guarantee a success and reached out to Artefact to design a helmet that is as functional as it is iconic. We embraced the opportunity to collaborate on the design of the ZERO1, a helmet poised to improve player safety while increasing comfort and performance.

“Artefact understood the critically important need to merge safety, form and function into the design of our new helmet. When we review our helmet designs with current and former NFL and NCAA players, they are consistently impressed by the look and the feel of the ZERO1.”

Dave Marver, CEO, VICIS


Deformable outer shell

The VICIS LODE Shell™ 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 this proven innovation to football helmets.

Unique chin strap attachment

By designing the chin strap to be attached from the deformable outside shell and the hard-plastic ARCH Shell™, we were able to provide a better fit and improve player safety and visibility.

Removable internal cushioning and personalization

Comfort, cleanability and personalization were key design criteria for the inner shell structure. The unique low-profile internal cushion can be customized to ensure the best fit. It can also be removed for easy cleaning and parts replacement.

A design evolution that envelops a technical revolution

We wanted to celebrate the unique technology and make it into a recognizable and unique component of the ZERO1 identity, from the venting components and through to the signature crown design.


(Football) Field Research

Maintenance and reconditioning, style and comfort, easy removability – these are just a few of the attributes that equipment managers, players and medical staff consider for any piece of equipment they deploy.

Technology Exploration

We explored the technology, structures, assembly and helmet details, highlighting the elements that were prime target for innovation and differentiation.

Concept Design and Evaluation

We explored multiple distinct assembly schemes, zeroing in on our final design based on the set of evaluation criteria that were set early in the exploration phase.

Player Feedback and Refinement

Throughout the design process we had the opportunity to meet, discuss and gather feedback from players at the highest levels of the game. We refined each and every detail to deliver a product that respects football legacy while offering a true revolution in protection and comfort.