These days most of us are going green and tend to use a bicycle instead of a car to move around the city, but how many of you are actually wearing a protective helmet?
In most countries there is no law or requirement to wear one, at the moment only Australia and New Zealand currently enforce the universal use of helmets, while in other countries only partial rules apply - for example only children under the age of 10 or 15.
However, debates on extending the age to include adult cyclists triggered two young Swedish women to invent a new helmet style as, for “people like us, who wouldn’t be seen dead in a polystyrene helmet, the thought that we might be forced to wear one by law was cause for concern”.
Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin were, at the time, enrolled in a Masters course in industrial design, so for their thesis they decided to find out whether the traditional bicycle helmet could be improved.
After nearly 7 years of research on airbag technology, mathematics, crash tests and an important collaboration with head-trauma specialists, the duo came up with a revolutionary idea: the public, when asked, wanted the possibility to wear a helmet that wouldn’t ruin their hair, that could be folded away in a pocket and that looked good, hoping it could become invisible.
So they created the first invisible bicycle helmet, also known as Hövding.
Hövding is actually a collar/scarf worn around your neck containing an airbag that will inflate and protect the head in the event of an accident. The sensors monitor the cyclist’s movements and can detect any changes in velocity or angle. The abnormal movement during an accident triggers the airbag, taking 0.1 seconds to inflate and protect the head before impact.
Considered as one of the best shock-absorbing cycle helmets in the world, the product has already won 10 international design awards.
Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin
Images © Hövding