Invisible Bike Helmet - Airbag for Your Head!

Dale Campbell, Co-Editor

Essentially set up as an air bag for your head, the “invisible” bike helmet provides protection for your head during a fall or crash.  Called the Hövding, the helmet airbag and its inflation components are packaged in a scarf you wear around your neck.  In many ways the designers feel that their product is an improvement over conventional helmets.  As noted in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Anna Haupt stated “Airbag technology absorbs the shock from an impact in a much more efficient way than conventional helmets can do.”  The Hövding has “an efficient shock absorbent capacity so that your skull and brain becomes much more protected in an impact … you can have multiple hits in one accident and the Hövding can handle them all because it stays inflated for a few seconds and it protects much larger areas of the head than conventional helmets can do.”

Haupt and Alstin worked on the design for eight years.  They now believe that it is gaining some traction in a worldwide market.  The designers do admit that part of the drive in designing the helmet was in consideration of “fashion.”  Conducting a study to find the root of resistance to traditional safety helmets in Europe, Haupt and Alstin discovered aesthetics plays a major role. “Everyone who buys this product says it's because of the safety reasons.”  But, the results of their anonymous study told a different story.  “It's a lot about vanity,” explains Haupt. “[Helmets] feel geeky, it distorts their hair, they are bulky to bring and so on.”  Understanding that they needed to think of an approach from the typical bicycle helmet, they came up with the basic concept for the Hövding. 

With a price tag of 399 Euros (that’s $543 at the current exchange rate), purchasing a  Hövding is certainly an investment, especially considering that the helmet can't be reused if it has activated.  And, the Hövding is currently only available throughout Europe and Japan due to differences in safety certification procedures.  Haupt and Alstin hope to apply for certification in the US once it starts generating more sales.  Once the US market opens up, the creators would ensure that national distributors have enough supplies to provide replacements free of charge.

So, is it a fashion statement or practical safety accessory?  You decide.  If you want to see a video of the airbag for your head in action, take a look at
www.today.com/video/today/53563167#53563167
 
Bent Fork Chronicles - Volume 6, Issue 6, 1 December 2013

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