The Pope's Swiss Guards Are Now Outfitted in 3D-Printed Helmets
The Popemobile isn't the only innovative piece of gear used by the Pope and his posse. Though they still look traditional, the outfits worn by the Swiss Guard now include a high-tech piece of headwear designed by the 3D-printing design team at HP, Fast Company reports.
Members of the Swiss Guard, the Vatican's private army, wore the same helmet for more than 500 years. The steel hat is branded with the crest of Pope Julius II (the "mercenary pope" and the guard's founder) and embellished with a red feathered crest for special events.
Vatican's Swiss Guards get new 3D-printed helmet The Pontifical Swiss Guard, the mini-army charged with protecting the Pope, receives a new and improved helmet design after more than 500 years. https://t.co/Qk5AuBK4sZ #Video #USRC pic.twitter.com/DuCeqDkoMJ
— U.S. Reality Check? (@USRealityCheck) January 24, 2019
Though it made for an iconic look, the original helmet had some practical issues. After baking in the Sun for hours, the metal would heat up and burn the guard's heads. Steel also isn't the most comfortable material to be wearing on your head all day, and because it rusts so easily, it doesn't make sense to wear it in the rain.
The updated helmets from HP solve these problems while maintaining the style of the old headgear. They're made from PA-12 plastic, which means they're lighter and resistant to UV rays. They're also water-resistant and don't need to be polished constantly to prevent rusting.
The hats are even more affordable than their more traditional predecessors. It costs $1000 and takes 14 hours to 3D-print each PA-12 helmet, while it took $2000 and 100 hours to forge a single steel one.
Interested in learning about more Papal upgrades? Here are some of the stylish rides the Pope used to get around in recent decades.
[h/t Fast Company]