The New Standard Of Headforms

Product: ISO testing head forms
Company: Design Reality

The new ISO 16900 standard for respiratory PPE testing has been introduced and undergoing final changes. As members of the standard’s advising committee, Design Reality’s founders have been actively engaged in the latest discussions and very much looking forward to the standard’s wide international adoption. The necessity for a range of new standardized testing head forms is mostly performance driven, as current models are too variable and limited in terms of their anatomical accuracy and suitability. However, the issue is also ethical, as the head forms available on the market do not represent the diversity of Homo sapiens.


– Product Design
– Research
– Development
– Regulatory Compliance
– Launch

ISRP logo

The International Society for Respiratory Protection (ISRP) has been at the forefront of driving respiratory PPE and Design Reality have played an active part in the ISRP task group dedicated to developing this new head form range. Current industrial apparatus is becoming outdated, considering the diverse range of PPE in the marketplace – for example the Sheffield Head is limited when it comes to testing smaller pieces of PPE or those that encompass the neckline.

The Brief

Utilising our expertise within this sector, Design Reality contributed to the work necessary to convert complex 3D scan data into tangible, standardised reference CAD models from which physical head forms could be manufactured. This iterative process of development removed anatomical complexities whilst trying to be to sympathetic to multiple ethnicities.

At the heart of the design a new breathing tube more akin to the human trachea was formulated that could be used across a range of 5 head forms with no variation in performance. To verify this there was a need to develop a prototype that could be tested in accordance with the new standard.

ISO Head workshop
ISO trachea tube

Design Reality offered to support the development of this prototype using our extensive knowledge of low-volume silicone moulding in this particular field. Utilising our in-house facilities and model making skills, a medium head form was produced for feedback and practical testing. The feedback proved invaluable to the design and development of the head form’s internal workings and accelerated the production of the remaining 4 head forms.

The Outcome

The subsequently developed head forms enable their use for field of vision, speech transmission and noise testing. Interested parties eager to purchase their own head forms in anticipation of the finalised ISO 16900 standard can see prices and order through

ISO Head Variants

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