The Invisible Helmet
Bike is a part of the daily life for many people in the Netherlands and of course for students. It is cheap, easy to park, healthy for many reasons, but is it safe? How many of the readers of this post have the habit of wearing a helmet when cycling? I guess that the group is really small and I am not a member of it too. Assuming that the knowledge about the risks of not wearing a helmet are popularly known, what makes us hesitate? As a member of the group, I can list some of the basic reasons: 1) The space that is needed to store it 2) Its bad impact on every kind of headdress 3) The awkward feeling when you wear it.
If your motivation of not wearing a helmet is listed above, then the invisible helmet may be your solution.
The product is called Hövding (Head or Chief in Swedish) and the idea started out in 2005 when Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, 2 friends from the University of Lund, were preparing their master thesis. The enactment of a law in Sweden on mandatory helmet use for people under 15 years old was their motivation for this product. They wanted to create a helmet that people willing to use for many reasons apart from the mandatory nature of this law.
How does this helmet actually work? It is based on the same concept of operation of a car airbag. It has the shape of a scarf, with the difference that it has a small built in canister filled with compressed air. A smart sensor detects the acceleration which is caused when a collision happens, and triggers the decompression of the air into an airbag that covers the biggest part of the head. The whole process is a matter of milliseconds and guarantees the security of the cycler.
There are two main reasons that this project took about seven years to reach the production level. Firstly, to ensure the proper functionality of the product, the team had to simulate all known accidents. Secondly, they had to address to an investor for the funding of their project. They attracted venture capital funds that amount to about 10 million dollars.
The product is available to order through their site but they also cooperate with retailers in 9 different countries. The team tries to combine the characteristics of a sophisticated high tech product and those of a fashion product. The only drawback may be the price which is €299, reasonable enough considering the features of this product.
• Hovding Airbag for Cyclists. (2014, 10 9). Retrieved from http://www.hovding.com/
• The Invisible Bicycle Helmet | Fredrik Gertten. (2014, 10 9). Retrieved from Vimeo.com: http://vimeo.com/43038579