Friday, November 22, 2013

Swedish Women Invent "Invisible" Airbag Helmet for Bicyclists

Two Swedish design students with a passion for cycling have come up with a brilliant, yet simple idea: an airbag helmet that only deploys in the case of a crash, leaving intact the pleasure to pedal with the wind in your hair (if you still have any).

The Hövding helmet may sound like an item from Ikea, but it is a lot simpler to “assemble”. Essentially a collar, you just need to wrap it around your neck and zip it up. That’s all; people will think you’ve bought yourself a new scarf. What they don’t know is that it contains an airbag that protects you in the event of a crash.

Research and development work started in 2005, with thousands of cycling accidents being re-enacted using stunt riders and crash-test dummies to collect the specific movement patterns of cyclists in accidents.

Also, an equal amount of normal cycling data has been collected using test cyclists wearing Hövding in everyday use. Based on the collected data, the company has developed an algorithm that can distinguish normal cycling from accidents so that the airbag “knows” when to deploy.

Moving on to the unpleasant part, the Hövding is listed for €399 ($535) on the company’s website, which is twice the amount of what my bicycle was worth when new. As much as I love the idea, I’m going to stick to conventional, unpleasant helmets for now…

Scroll down to hear the story of the airbag helmet from the two founders, Anna and Terese, and to see how the device works in the videos posted below.

By Dan Mihalascu


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