Invisible helmet for the hair-consious cyclists (w/ Video)

October 22, 2010, weblog

The latest accessory for cyclists comes in the form of an inflatable airbag -- for the head. A Stockholm-based industrial duo by the names of Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt have developed a solution for those struggling with the choice between having good hair or playing it safe while bike-riding: The invisible helmut, deemed "Hovding."

The helmet is made of a small, helium gas cylinder with 'abnormal' that inflate into an air-filled cushion around the wearer's head within 0.1 seconds of detecting an impact. While Sweden law requires the use of helmets when riding, Alstin and Haupt spent six years developing the helmet after realizing cyclist’s reluctance to wear traditional due to discomfort, appearance or hairstyles.

The invisible helmet is an alternative that is discreetly designed to be hidden beneath a fashionable, removable fabric collar that will be available in many different styles and collections.

Much like a car’s , the invisible helmet has gone through rigorous testing with crash test dummies to insure rider’s safety while wearing the helmet, though more bugs are still being worked out to ensure the effectiveness and practicality.

With an estimated retail price of $50 per collar, consumers might wonder if it's worth trading in their traditional helmet for the trendy Hovding or if sacrificing hair in the name of safety is a better option.

Alstin and Haupt hope to have the airbag in Northern Europe and UK shops next spring.

Explore further: Fatality rates increase with repeal of helmet laws, study finds

More information: … ycle-helmet-hovding/

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1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2010
sweet. I was especially impressed by the last crash test with a front wheel lock face-plant. I could wear this and feel pretty safe.
3 / 5 (4) Oct 22, 2010
can't a brother ride his bike without some crazy white dude in a sedan mowin him down??
1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2010
That looks pretty nice, but why limit the protection to the head? The collar could inflate other cushions that could protect the back and help mitigate spinal injuries. Of course that might need to be optional in the event a rider was wearing a backpack.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2010
I have always wondered why they couldn't develop such a system.I had assumed that the gas inflated cushion couldn't be made firm enough to prevent the head from compressing it and hitting something solid.
I detest wearing a bicycle helmet.This thing could get me cycling again..
1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2010
You might burst your eardrums, but it looks like it works well. There is nothing invisible about that collar though, I'd get more funny looks wearing that than the dorkiest helmet. See Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash"(1992) for airbag suits with full body and face protection.
5 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2010
Typical bike helmets are tested in two modes. One is for blunt-force impacts (such as illustrated above.) The other is for penetration by sharp edges or objects. I'm afraid in the latter case, the airbag will prove completely ineffectual...
1 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2010
sweet. I was especially impressed by the last crash test with a front wheel lock face-plant. I could wear this and feel pretty safe.

i ride my bicycle about 10+ miles a day, for at least 10 years. I have yet to see *any* bicycle helmet that would protect against a 'face-plant'. None. Zip. Nada. In fact, present helmets here in the USA seem dismally lacking in safety. For example, the most vulnerable part of the skull is the 'parietal' area, behind the temple, where bone is nearly paper-thin. Fully half of that area is totally unprotected, unlike this new airbag model which, by the pics, seems to offer substantial protection there and perhaps some to the neck, as well. I consider this design a significantly better advance design. As to its measured performance, time will tell.
not rated yet Oct 23, 2010
I don't think the face plant would be better than a standard helmet. What about a side impact, or a crash at a more reasonable speed?
not rated yet Oct 23, 2010
perhaps this could be integrated with some minimalistic standard-type bike helmet for a hybrid system.
not rated yet Oct 23, 2010
But why should we make yet one more factory to produce yet one more thing, intended let people keep their hairstyle while on a bike? I was with the impression that our society, already facing ecological disaster and climate change, tries to be more mature, and accept the fact that you can't have all.

In any case... How reliable are those impact detectors? If I fell from the bike before the bike hits anything hard, would the detectors be able to detect it before I hit the rocks on the ground?
1 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2010
I concur with a previous comment that why limit this to the head & neck. The other comment said back but the most serious injuries are to the abdomen as there is no solid protection & legs are the most often injured in motorbike & pushbike accidents. Make it protect the lot.

As for the neck there needs be something to stop the neck tilting backwards. Better a brain shake than a broken neck. Who wants to live if they're a quadriplegic? Most quads I've met would rather not have lived. If the injury is so hard as to break the helmet then it would have broken the neck in any case. With some support there would be at least a modicum of protection at least
not rated yet Oct 31, 2010
The bag arming, unarming, and triggering system would seem among the most difficult to get that it always deploys, but only when you really need it. I guess it would have to be unarmed when you take it off?, and armed when you put it on?, curious about how they designed that. Automatic?, or is it possible user could forget or accidently mitigate arming?
not rated yet Nov 01, 2010
An "unusual motion sensor" sets it off... so this isn't for mountain bikers or BMX riders, apparently

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