Startup company using material inspired by the human spine.
A former show jumper who’s working on a new body protector has secured £100,000 funding.
Buckinghamshire based Esmeralda Tuomi, who hails from Finland, set up Armaros to create “a new type of flexible body armour for horse riders.”
Her design, which she has named Guardian Angel, is to be submitted for testing to the BETA Body Protector Standard.
The six-figure investment is from the British Design Fund.
Esmeralda says many riders are put off wearing body protectors because they are uncomfortable.
“When I started asking fellow riders about their experiences, I quickly found that most riders don’t wear one because they find them incredibly stiff and restrictive. That was a lightbulb moment for me,” she added.
Esmeralda set about finding a solution while on a Global Innovation Design course, backed by Imperial College London.
Key to her new body protector has been the creation of a flexible yet supportive material, said to be inspired by the human spine.
“The design is accessible, scalable and suitable for mass manufacturing, so the maximum number of people can potentially benefit from it,” says Esmeralda.
“We have managed to engineer a product that works with existing manufacturing techniques, which also has potential for many other markets.”
Armaros hopes to bring its product to market within the next year. Initially targeting equestrians, the company hopes to expand into other sports and sectors such as defence.
British Design Fund works with UK start-ups. Alongside capital investment, it provides mentoring to accelerate growth plans.