Cyclists who choose not to wear safety helmets for the sake of fashion may not have a valid argument anymore if the Hövding, an invisible bicycle helmet, makes its impact on the market.
Created by two Swedish industrial design students as a master’s thesis, the idea came about in 2005 after Swedish officials began enforcing the use of helmets for biking children and debate raged about adults using helmets. Some consider helmets a fashion faux pas, so Hövding creators Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin set out to revolutionize the industry by offering a helmet that was fashionable and offered unparalleled safety for the rider.
After seven years of research, the pair came up with a collar that contains an inflatable helmet made of ultra-strong nylon fabric that won’t rip when scraped against asphalt. A sensor within the collar determines abnormal movements that are likely indicators of an accident. Once abnormal movement is sensed, a helium-filled helmet shaped like a hood deploys in .1 seconds.
Once the helmet is deployed, it can no longer be used and another one must be purchased, similar to the way in which most avalanche air bags and similar technology works. The Hövding is available for purchase for 3998 Swedish kronor, or approximately $600 USD.
While the helmet is billed for urban biking, the technology could be used to develop helmets that do not inhibit the view of mountain bikers and other extreme sports participants who often go to gorgeous locations for epic stunts and sights.
View a short film below about the Hövding, unofficially called the Invisible Bicycle Helmet, by Fredrik Gertten. In the last frames of the film see how the helmet works when a dummy is put to the crash test.