MONTREAL – Two Swedish industrial design students have created an “invisible helmet” for cyclists concerned about safety and how they look.
The Hövding is actually an air bag, which uses a helium gas cylinder to inflate when its sensors detect a sudden jolt.
Described as a “discreet collar” that cyclists wear around their necks, inside is a folded air bag, which is hidden until a trigger mechanism, set off by abnormal movement, pops it open.
The trigger mechanism is based on an algorithm that distinguishes normal cycling from accidents.
The idea came to life in 2005 as a Masters’ thesis, when Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin were studying industrial design at the University of Lund.
They wanted to find out whether it would be possible to create a bike helmet that people would be happy to wear and came up with the idea of an air bag.
Designed like a hood and made from ultra-strong nylon fabric, the Hövding helmet is only for cyclists over the age of 15; although those sporting dreadlocks, Mohawks and Afros may not be able to use it.
“Over 3,000 Hövdings are already being worn by cyclists around the world who appreciate its safety, its innovative design and its style,” the company’s managing director Fredrik Carling said in a statement.
“We’ve also started planning to launch sales in Japan and Canada next year.”
At $558 a pop, just ordering one of these innovative head protectors may be like taking a ride on the wild side.